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Automotive Open System Architecture Ready Devices and Ecosystem

Automotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR) addresses the challenge of increasing software complexity by providing an open and exchangeable means to fix standardize the software architecture for automotive Electronic Control Units (ECUs). This empowers you to create innovative electronic systems that provide improved quality, performance, security and safety.

For automotive developers looking to design scalable applications for future technology while also meeting the latest automotive requirements, Microchip Technology Inc. had announced an extensive ecosystem around AUTOSAR-ready dsPIC33C Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs) to enable accelerated development and a higher level of system optimization while reducing total system cost.

Yan Goh, Senior Business Development Manager, Automotive Products Group, Microchip Technology Inc.

ELE Times: Could you elaborate around the detail of what's included in the “AUTOSAR-ready devices and ecosystem”?

Microchip has been delivering AUTOSAR-ready devices within the dsPIC33C digital signal controller (DSC) and PIC32 and SAM microcontroller families. Using the AUTOSAR ecosystem around the dsPIC33C DSCs, we offer various MCAL packages compliant with AUTOSAR 4.3.x. Our MCALs are developed with ASIL and ASPICE compliance. To facilitate the simplicity of implementation for our customers, we've caused well-established third-party partners in the automotive segment including Vector and KPIT to provide off-the-shelf support for AUTOSAR BSW and OS for the dsPIC33C DSC AUTOSAR-ready families. Awaiting automotive security requirements, our unique proposition also provides an AUTOSAR-ready crypto driver which will work seamlessly with Microchip's TrustAnchor100 (TA100) CryptoAutomotive device together with dsPIC33C DSCs. To allow people to implement functional safety within their designs, we offer ISO 26262-compliant dsPIC33C DSCs and functional safety packages that simplify the design and certification of safety-critical applications.

ELE Times: Exactly what does it mean for customers to have an ISO 26262 compliant and AUTOSAR-ready device and ecosystem? Do you know the benefits?

We see both ISO 26262 and AUTOSAR go hand-in-hand when developing a next-generation automotive electronic control unit (ECU) as automotive OEMs are putting greater focus on functional safety, standardization and platform-based development to reduce risk while gearing up for that fast adoption of electrification, autonomous driving-ADAS technology in cars today. ISO 26262, generally known as functional safety, forms an integral part of every automotive module development. It covers a wide facet of target safety level, the whole development process right down to production and also the validation process with the try to achieve ISO 26262 functional safety standards. AUTOSAR on the other hand covers the expansion aspect all around the software implementation for the microcontrollers or SoC used. This is critical as today's car requires much more ECUs running on various high-speed bus systems, and most importantly requires a large amount of embedded software to operate. AUTOSAR ensures standardization, reusability and interoperability during software development addressing various design complexities.

The AUTOSAR-ready and ISO 26262-compliant dsPIC33C DSCs and also the ecosystem enable automotive engineers to build up safety-critical applications and choose certification effortlessly while achieving standardization and scalability with AUTOSAR support. The general ecosystem cuts down on the development time. With the large memory dsPIC33C DSCs, our customers are enabled to attain an advanced of integration in their applications by implementing AUTOSAR, ISO 26262 functional safety and security.

ELE Times: What are the special sights in the hardware architecture from the dsPIC33CK1024MP7xx series compared to previous products?

dsPIC33CK1024MP7xx DSCs are the latest inclusions in Microchip's wide portfolio of dsPIC33C DSCs. This new group of dsPIC33C DSCs was created following the ISO 26262 functional safety standard and comes with a range of dedicated hardware security features. Leveraging on our experiences, we've improved the chip design architecture with commonality in mind where we provide the only core and dual core architectures. Offering larger memory along with a rich feature set, the dsPIC33C DSCs are designed with high performance, deterministic response and low latency interrupt to target real-time applications. As mentioned earlier, support for security is considered using the dsPIC33C DSCs offering complimentary security measures to work together with Microchip's CryptoAutomotive solutions.

ELE Times: The automotive MCU market is very competitive, what type of options that come with the dsPIC33C DSC family allow it to be more suitable for automotive and electric vehicle designs than its competitors?

Microchip holds a distinct segment position within the automotive segment with this dsPIC33C family. We developed our solutions targeting especially EV or ADAS applications for example motor controls, electrical management for example OBC, BMS, DC/DC ECU, actuator-sensor, ECU and lighting ECU. Like a key differentiator, we designed our dsPIC33C to meet the high-speed analog requirements with advanced ADCs, op-amps, and high-speed analog CMPs, that are required for high-efficiency digital power and advanced sensor interfacing designs. These advanced features coupled with our excellent reference design and software support enable our people to develop solutions effortlessly.

ELE Times: We've taken care of the following news about dsPIC33C within the automotive field in recent years: such as the new dual-core and single-core dsPIC33C DSCs coming in 2022 with an emphasis on “automotive and wireless charging applications”; the ISO 26262 functional safety package for dsPIC33C DSCs in 2022; and this year’s concentrate on “AUTOSAR-ready”. What is your opinion is the reason for “AUTOSAR-ready” being this year's focus, could it be since it is more difficult to build up or for other reasons?

AUTOSAR history were only available in 2003 and it has been evolving since. It is definitely more challenging to develop from a technical perspective and there is a learning curve for all Tier 1 suppliers. As time has passed, AUTOSAR capability within Tier 1 and OEM reaches the level where mass adoption starts. This growth can also be because of the fact that new automotive platform development introduced across the board focuses on higher safety requirements, more electronic functionality covering an array of aspects such as HMI, ADAS, autonomy and finally, electrification. With the much more complexity, the adoption of AUTOSAR is among the key ingredients considering all the benefits it brings.

ELE Times: Do you know the main applications of 16-bit MCUs in automobiles? Is it an issue that the 16-bit MCU share of the market might have to go down as 32-bit MCUs are currently capturing the automotive market?

Microchip offers microcontroller choices from 8-bit to 32-bit MCUs. From our perspective, each 8 – 16 – 32-bit MCU has its own place and particular target focus application ECU within the automotive segment. It is not about a particular segment cannibalizing the weaker segment, instead, each MCU has its own unique position and strength to address the particular functionality. For example, in a simple switch module with LIN interface, an 8-bit MCU can certainly fulfil all the requirements also it could be an overkill to utilize a 32-bit MCU. Focusing on our dsPIC family that provides a variety of features which are customized for deterministic and high-performance results, it is well adapted for high-speed real-time response applications such as various motor controls (FOC, BLDC/PMSM), electrification ECUs for example OBC, BMS, DC-DC inverters and safety-critical designs related to controls switch and sensor modules. The dsPIC33 family is more defined by the application-specific features and also the ecosystem it provides to fit the automotive applications.

ELE Times: Lots of people think that AUTOSAR specification is prepared for that traditional automotive industry. As we enter the era of intelligence, using the shift from distributed to domain-centralized automotive electronic architecture, the AUTOSAR specification starts to become less suitable, despite the development of Adaptive AUTOSAR. What exactly are your thoughts about this?

We would view the opposite will happen. As vehicle electronics architecture shifts towards the zonal-based system, additional embedded software will be necessary for each connected ECU. Consequently, AUTOSAR may also be required considering all of the benefits we have discussed earlier. Adaptive AUTOSAR is needed in more high-end ECU awaiting the ADAS-Autonomous features. Both AUTOSAR standards are complementary and will be used together because they serve different needs and situations.

Mayank Vashisht | Sub Editor | ELE Times