Offering automotive engineers a two-stage road map to deterministic performance, Texas Instruments has begun shipping AEC Q-100-qualified C28x digital signal controllers for high-performance motor control applications such as electronic power steering (EPS) and integrated starter alternators (ISAs).
For stage two, TI is embedding the FlexRay protocol into TMS470 automotive MCUs. It says it has commitments in hand from major automotive OEMs for TMS470 MCUs with embedded FlexRay, and expects to commence shipments shortly after the FlexRay consortium finalizes its conformance tests, which should happen next October.
Matthias Poppel, TI’s worldwide advanced embedded control automotive marketing manager, says the increased complexity of automotive systems is driving up data rates and increasing the need for fault-tolerant, deterministic behavior. “By embedding FlexRay, the TMS470 MCUs improve designers’ ability to control sensors, actuators and ECUs,” he notes.
In the meantime, Poppel says, C28x controllers feature 150 MIPS of DSP performance, enhanced bus structures with high math efficiency, and vectored peripheral interrupt structures that can deliver 80 nanosecond response.
“This rate allows automotive designs to respond in real time to events and provide an intelligent mix of 16-bit and 32-bit instructions to give the superior code densities required for the reliable, high-performance motors EPS and ISAs need.”
Poppel adds that C28x controllers are helping designers migrate to digital signal controllers “without giving up the peripherals and ease of use they have come to expect from MCUs.”
In EPS and ISA systems, real-time processing reduces overall weight and manufacturing time, and improves fuel economy and reliability. “Estimates indicate that EPS leads to a fuel economy improvement of approximately 3% to 4% and that ISA can lower emissions up to 15%.”