Microcontroller in the automotive sector


What is a microcontroller (MCU)?

A microcontroller is a microcomputer that, in addition to its processor, combines various other important components and peripheral elements on one chip, i.e. a one-chip system, but not to be confused with a system-on-a-chip. They are usually selected adapted to their respective special applications and should ideally fulfill their tasks with as few external components as possible and can be manufactured in large numbers. They often carry out control and communication tasks of all kinds.




Where are microcontrollers used in the automotive sector?

Microcontrollers have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives, regardless of whether refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, televisions, power supply units or any other everyday object that contains even a little electronics are considered, microcontrollers are usually to be found. You have become indispensable in the automotive sector as well. Since microcontrollers primarily take on control and communication tasks, there are a large number of applications in automobiles that are possible with microcontrollers and can be implemented simply and cost-effectively. In modern vehicles today, small 8 or 16-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) are used in numerous applications - from position sensors to controlling windshield wipers. Since the variety of applications for microcontrollers is very large, microcontroller families are manufactured application-specifically for the automotive sector.








Current and future requirements of microcontrollers in the automotive sector

Probably the most essential requirement of automotive microcontroller families is clearly the technical security to be brought with them, which clearly differs from consumer device or communication applications. In addition, integrated flash and RAM memories with their security mechanisms ensure robustness over the entire life cycle. Domain and zone control devices integrate logical software functions that were previously implemented in distributed systems. The development complexity is thus shifted from the vehicle network with many individual control devices to the hardware / software architecture of central domain / zone control devices. In addition to scalable computing power up to 15 kDMIPS, this requires flexibility for the integration of functions of various ASIL (Automotive Safety Integrity Level) according to ISO26262. System availability becomes a real technical challenge. Gigabit Ethernet will make it possible to exchange large amounts of data between domain computers. Classic network technologies such as CAN, Flexray and LIN will continue to be used for communication with sensors and actuators. Crypto security will also play a central role. Secure software updates in later vehicle operation, the detection of manipulations of the network and the protection of private data require high-performance security functions in all ECU classes.



Infineon Tricore microcontroller

One of the most widely used automotive microcontroller families is the TriCore device family. On average, there is at least one microcontroller from the TriCore family in every second. TriCore-based microcontrollers work in the central control units for combustion engines and transmissions, where they control the injection, ignition and exhaust gas recirculation. They are also increasingly being used for hybrid and electric vehicle drives. Other areas of application are electric steering, braking and driver assistance systems and chassis control.






Solution for prototyping and small batch production of TriCore microcontrollers

PEmicro's CYCLONE Flash programmers are powerful tools for in-circuit programming, debugging and testing of microcontrollers (MCU), either in standalone mode or controlled from a PC. The PE Micro programmers are reliable, easy to configure and extremely easy to use.





The programmers Cyclone LC Universal and Cyclone FX Universal from PEmicro provide support for the AUDO ™ TC1xx and AURIX ™ TC2xx and TC3xx TriCore devices from Infineon, which are ideally suited for optimized motor control applications and signal processing tasks. This makes them a preferred choice for many automotive and industrial applications. TriCore devices are programmed via port A of a Cyclone LC Universal or Cyclone FX Universal programming device.