NXP network chip allows new approaches in vehicle software: Page 4 of 4

January 21, 2020 //By James Morra
The S32G communication processor recently introduced by NXP manages the entire data streams between the car and the back end and is also responsible for the cybersecurity of the on-board computer environment. Our partner publication Electronic Design took a closer look at the processor.

The chip could also be used for running diagnostics on the engine, transmission or other parts. The chip could anticipate potential failures or parts that are wearing down, sending all that data to the cloud so that the manufacturer can send out replacement parts. Other services could share the location of potholes, debris or patches of invisible ice on the road ahead. "We are looking into how we can unlock more of the data in the car," Carlson said.

The S32G is also ideal for integrating all the data from cameras, radar and other sensors around the car and feeding all that data to the ADAS safety controllers. The chip also has PCIe Gen 3 interfaces so that it can serve as the coprocessor to other chips carrying out the artificial intelligence chores in the car, NXP said. To guard against failures, the coprocessor has to corroborate the results from its counterpart before piloting the car out of trouble.

NXP said the S32G can also be used to secure the data shared around the car and swapped with the cloud. The chip incorporates a hardware security engine that serves as the root of trust, supporting secure boot to confirm that the system has not been infected by malicious code, and protecting against the pilfering of data in the car and the hijacking of the steering wheel or door locks. The encryption cores are barricaded from other blocks of the chip.

The Cortex-M7 cores can also serve as lock-step microcontrollers to add more redundancy. Each core in the pair runs through the same series of computations in parallel at the same time and watches out for malfunctions. The three pairs of cores can be compared to figure out whether faults or other errors have occurred in the duplicate core, NXP said. When the fault occurs, the other core takes control to reduce the chance of a single point of failure.

The Cortex-A53 cores can uniquely be used as lock-step microprocessors, NXP said. The cores are clustered in pairs so they can check each other for faults, boosting redundancy. The high-performance cores can be used in ADAS for alerting drivers to potential collisions or other dangers on the road ahead or autonomously steering the car out of danger, NXP said. The Cortex-A53 processors can also run independently if that redundancy is unnecessary.

"We don't know anyone else offering that," Carlson said.

This article was first published in Electronic Design – www.electronicdesign.com

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