STMicro Showcases Latest Solutions and Advancements in Smart Driving at AUTOMOTIVE WORLD 2018

STMicroelectronics (STMicro) exhibited its latest semiconductor solutions for smart driving at AUTOMOTIVE WORLD 2018. The automotive industry is witnessing rapid advances in the development of leading-edge technologies such as autonomous driving, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication, and power management in electric vehicles (EVs). STMicro thus showcased numerous solutions that combine wide-ranging technologies and products for Safer, More Connected, and Greener automobiles. The event was held from January 17-19 in Tokyo, Japan.

Achieving "Safer" automobiles based on autonomous driving and ADAS requires advanced sensing technologies. STMicro conducted demonstrations of automotive CMOS image sensors equipped with a combination of high dynamic range (HDR) functions and LED flicker-free functions for use in image-processing systems such as electronic mirrors and surround view. These sensors are important because, although traffic signals, road signs, and automobile LED lights appear to the naked eye to be constantly lit, they actually flicker, which conventional image sensors capture. This flicker can hinder automotive systems that use image processing. STMicro's demonstration showed how the company’s sensors can eliminate LED light flicker under a variety of brightness conditions, in both dark and bright portions of an image.

The company also highlighted its transceiver ICs for long-range (77/81 GHz) and short-range (24/26 GHz) radar. These transceivers can measure the distance between automobiles or between automobiles and objects. 77 GHz radar systems fit next-generation features like high-speed adaptive cruise control that require high power output, while 24 GHz systems are ideal for blind-spot detection, collision avoidance, and lane-departure warning applications. In addition, STMicro showcased its MEMS motion sensors, which can be used in automotive applications including navigation, dashboard camera, and smart keys, as well as a widely anticipated image processor.

The increasing proliferation of connected cars with in-vehicle communication networks, as well as connections to the outside world through smartphones, roadside infrastructure, and even the cloud is the backdrop for a co-operation with an Israeli company, Valens. At AUTOMOTIVE WORLD, STMicro and Valens conducted a demo of a multimedia network for automotive connectivity that combines a STMicro automotive telematics processor equipped with strong security features, an automotive infotainment processor that enables low-cost, high-quality processing of images, audio, and video, with Valens' HDBaseT Automotive next-generation communications technology. Using this solution, a single unshielded twisted-pair cable (UTP) is capable of high-speed data transmission (up to 6Gbps) in the car.

While the shift to "More Connected" automobiles brings increased convenience, it also increases security concerns, including data theft or unauthorized access. STMicro conducted a demo of an automotive-grade TPM (Trusted Platform Module) security chip that compensates for vulnerabilities in connected cars. This security chip conforms to the AEC-Q100 standard for reliability testing of automotive electronic components, the TPM 2.0 standard, and the Common Criteria EAL5+ strict security certification. In addition, the company also plans to exhibit an automotive secure MCU with the Common Criteria EAL5+ certification.

In the field of "Greener" driving, the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) is accompanied by demands for more advanced and efficient power-control technologies. At the event, STMicro showed an automotive power semiconductor that makes use of SiC (silicon carbide), a next-generation semiconductor material. It’s automotive SiC power MOSFET is characterized by low power loss during switching (about 1/4 the loss compared with the current mainstream IGBTs), as well as operation across a wide temperature range. It will also highlight an automotive SiC diode with reverse recovery properties superior to those of Si bipolar diodes. The SiC solution can be used in hybrid, electric, and other automotive systems, as well as in railway, industrial, and solar-power applications.

STMicro also exhibited an automotive 48V DC-DC converter for power control that is fully qualified to the AEC-Q101 standard. This product features extremely low on-resistance of 1.1ohm or less at 40V, as well as a maximum junction temperature of 175°C, making it suitable for use in demanding environments in the automobile chassis. In addition, the company introduced an EV battery-charger solution that combines a general-purpose microcontroller (MCU) with the latest power semiconductors, enabling highly efficient electric power control.

Other demos included automotive microcontrollers and EEPROMs, LED drivers, and LDO regulators, as well as a USB Type-C power-supply system, a smart-key solution that combines a Bluetooth low energy communication IC with a MEMS inertial sensor, and many more.