TI - Driving the Future

TI - Driving the Future
Driving the Future
TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
by Kirk Robinson, Control Engineering Systems Technology
aka “Greenja” and Guru on the TI E2E Community
(Editor’s note: “Greenja” is a Texas Instruments customer and a
passionate supporter and enormously active member of the TI
E2E online technical support community. He is a guru, after all! As
the content of this eBook is comprised primarily of content from
E2E, we asked Greenja to write the Forward to this eBook and,
in his own words, (this is not a paid endorsement) why he feels
it is worth engaging with other TI customers and TI-ers on the
The automotive industry is by far one of the most diverse industries to span the globe. With respect to electronics, there is no
other workplace where an engineer, technologist, technician or
machinist can gain as much exposure to the latest advancements
in technology. For the most part, it is the gadgetry that you can
see that get all the attention, with informatics systems from TI
leading the way.
Even though the car may be packed full of technology, it takes
a lot more advanced technology to actually get it inside. As any
OEM, Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 supplier can tell you, meeting the high
quality standard, Just In Time delivery schedules or Poka-yoke
requires a great deal of engineering and maintenance.
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Working in the automotive industry, the more you know, the more
you realize just how little you actually know about all the technology that goes into building a vehicle. You may be an expert in
digital or power electronics, but your analog filter design is not
so good! A new request may require you to demonstrate or integrate a particular analog or wireless device, increase your designs
overall efficiency or incorporate battery management. Your time
may be spread thin meaning you don’t have time to become an
expert on the new device. This is where the TI E2E Community
comes into play.
By joining the TI E2E Community you can get expert advice from
not only those behind the product, but from those using the
product in the field. Some experts themselves in other areas of
electronics, some just hobbyist, but all with something to share
about your topic of interest. By searching through the forum and
reading through the blogs written by some of the top technical
minds in the field, you can find the resource materials to complete
your project.
At some point it may become necessary for you to join the TI E2E
Community. Perhaps it is for access to documentation or software,
asking your own question or commenting on a topic. Regardless of
what initially lead you here, you will remain an active member not
out of necessity, but hopefully for the satisfaction of providing a
little of your expertise to others in need of it.
Texas Instruments
Did you know that TI impacts the automotive industry?
No? Let me tell you how we do it.
by Hagop Kozanian, VP of Worldwide Analog Marketing, Texas Instruments
As the level of sophistication rises and the need for lower power,
lower weight and more fuel efficient vehicles also rises, so does
the need for electronics and more complex semiconductor technologies within the vehicle. At TI, we are giving our customers the
ability to introduce many highly sophisticated features into today’s
automobiles including infotainment systems that keep drivers
informed and passengers entertained, safety features that assist
with parking and detect driver drowsiness and innovative communications technology. TI’s automotive technologies transform cars
into portable command centers for entertainment and information,
with instant-on connectivity and adaptive safety technologies.
As a father of two little girls, adaptive safety is an area in automotive I am particularly excited about. In July of this year, my wife
and I decided our long drive back from the yearly family trip would
occur in the middle of the night. Anyone who has been in a car with
two kids under five for more than ten minutes would understand
our rationale: they would sleep, we would make it home sane.
Genius. Three hours into our drive, our car saved our lives. Too
stubborn to determine I should not be driving as tired as I was our
car’s drowsy driver alert system rang loudly, reminding me that one
redbull would not make up for a lousy night’s sleep. The system
recognized the frequency of my “in lane” adjustments was too low
and I was likely dozing off (I was). Five seconds after the system
shrieked it’s loud warning, a stalled car was sitting in the fast lane
we were driving in. I swerved, narrowly missing it though I was wide
awake (along with the rest of the car at that point).
We develop the analog, sensors, embedded processors, and
other technology that enhance automotive safety while making
the driving experience safer, greener and fun.TI innovations also
enables its customers to improve system efficiencies and reduce
the environmental impact of automobiles through the semiconductor technologies it provides.
Here are the ways TI semiconductors work in various parts of the car:
• Safer: Radar and vision systems leverage analog and embedded technologies for applications such as lane departure warning,
drowsiness sensors and parking assistance systems. The
processed information can be displayed on screens or announced
via acoustical warning signals. In the future, these radar and vision
systems will enable the autonomous car to help create a safer and
greener driver experience.
• Greener: Fuel efficient systems range from start-stop technologies to full electric cars that simply plug in for more power. In
the car of the future, through component and system integration,
smaller size and weight of components by moving from mechanical to electric/electronic devices plus the ability to replace cables
with wireless technology, will enable cars to be lighter and have far
fewer wires making them far more fuel efficient.
• More fun: TI is creating smaller, lower-power and more integrated semiconductors that are the answer to the future of automotive.
TI products can currently create head-up displays, infotainment
systems on the center console and a virtual world of gaming for
backseat passengers. In the car of the future, TI will have solutions
that are driven purely on gesture control, change automatically with
the driver and passengers through sensor technologies and will
ultimately function with very few to no wires and screens.
TI has been committed to helping automotive system designers
reduce BOM complexity for more than 30 years. Through high
levels of integration and by providing products that enhance the
overall performance, power efficiency and flexibility of automotive
body and convenience systems, TI has proven to be a partner of
several worldwide automakers and suppliers to the automotive
The contents of this eBook represent some of that Texas
Instruments expertise published regularly in our Behind the Wheel
automotive blog, as well as other TI E2E blogs. And it is on E2E that
you will continue to find valuable, easy to access, technical content
generated by more than 130,000 fellow engineers.
Enjoy your eRead….
Texas Instruments
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Table of Contents
Predicting the cars of the future
by Richard Kerslake
TI’s Jacinto 6 automotive OMP processor: What does it mean for passengers and drivers
by Brad Ballard
Sneak Peak! Car DVRs based on our DaVinci video processors
by Anshuman Saxena
How to improve the startup and stop behavior or ERM and LRA actuators
by Brian Burk
Better eyes for your car
by Hannes Estl
Not easy - but benefits outweigh challenges of LEDs in autos
by John Perry
Analog drives automotive solutions
by Hagop Kozanian
Hot off the manifold
by Surinder Singh
Coming soon to automotive touchscreens: haptic feedback
by Mark Toth
Get your motor running: AEC-Q100 automotive grade drivers
by Michael Frith
TI and QNX: Driving Infotainment Forward
by Robert Tolbert
New connected car
by Chuck Brokish
From big gulps and cup holders to MP3 players and USB port
by Thomas Lewis
Driving safety at TI
by Brian Fortman
Needed: crashless cars
by Brook Williams
IEEE 802.3: The birth of PoDL
by David Abramson
Visualizing a safe drive with the next generation of heads-up displays
by Alan Rankin
Redefining the driving experience on lane at a time
by Gaurav Agarwal
Saving lives one eCall at a time
by Arthi Krishnamurthy
Future Cars – not so far away
by Rick Zarr
Powering the car of the future
by Chris Glaser
Driving high-speed data against traffic - Part 1
by Andy McLean
Driving high-speed data against traffic - Part 2
by Andy McLean
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Texas Instruments
Predicting the Car of the Future
by Richard Kerslake, Director of Marketing, TI Wireless Connectivity Solutions
Accurately predicting the future of cars has never been easy. Of all
those that have tried it, movie makers have created some of the
most exciting visions of how the future might turn out. Sometimes
they get it right, other times, not so much. Remember James
Bond’s car with the built-in map and tracking system? When you
look at today’s GPS navigation systems, the similarity is striking.
When it comes to the future of the car, there are few things we can
be fairly certain about. The push to make cars safer, greener and
more enjoyable to drive will increase.
When we think about the innovation in cars over the last few
decades, it’s hard to grasp the dramatic improvements that have
been made in safety. Even though there are about 50% more
people in the US today than there were in the 1970’s the total
number of fatalities is about 40% lower. This reduction has come
from many areas, but without doubt, one is the application of
semiconductor technology.
In the last 40 years there has been an ever-growing list of safety
systems added to our cars, each silently waiting to help us; antilock brakes, traction control, airbags…the list goes on. With more
technologies rolling out each year – radar, LIDAR and vision to
name just three -- the pressure remains strong to keep us safe
whenever we drive.
This opens up a whole new world of potential fuel efficiency.
Cars that don’t crash could be much lighter. Why drive around
in a 4000lb steel caged car if it’s never going to be in an accident? Removing large amounts of weight from the vehicle would
dramatically improve fuel efficiency.
We now drive much more than we did in the 1970’s – about twice
as far in the case of Americans. As road congestion (at least in
many parts of the world) has not improved, that means more time
spent in the car driving. Given that, you might as well enjoy the
time! Entertainment systems in cars are certainly not new – check
out on Google the photos of in-car record players of the 1950’s
and the 8-track tape systems of the 1960’s. What has changed
is the range of content available to the driver and passenger.
In addition to a vast collection of music (care of MP3, satellite
radio systems and now streaming music), we have far more data
at our finger tips. Want directions to the nearest coffee shop?–
just check the GPS. Need the latest weather? Road conditions?
These are all available at your finger tips. Silicon technology is
at the heart of these innovations – and the story is just beginning. Car infotainment systems are now deeply embedded into
the car, allowing us to select what we want with minimum fuss or
So now we come back to the question of “What does the car
of the future look like?”. Well, not afraid to afraid to put our own
stake in the ground, TI has created a video to share our own
vision of the future – and how semiconductor technology will be
shaping it. I won’t spoil your fun of watching it, but I will tell you
one thing – no flying cars.
Whether we like it or not, the biggest safety
“problem” in a car, is the driver. Estimates show that
most of all accidents are wholly or partly the fault of
the driver.
With such sobering numbers, it’s no wonder that
autonomous driving holds so much promise. Still,
until we get to the point where all cars are driving
themselves, there are lots of safety improvements
we can still make. Autonomous braking systems, for
instance, leverage radar and vision systems to apply
the brakes quickly before we have even realized
the seriousness of a situation. This will bring further
security to driving. Initial data from US Insurance
Institutes already show that autonomous braking
systems tangibly reduce accident levels.
When we think of autonomous vehicles, we often
think of the convenience (and possibly safety) factor
of having a car that drives itself. However, by definition an autonomous car is one that is designed to
avoid accidents (as opposed to just surviving them).
Texas Instruments
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Jacinto 6” automotive OMAP™ processor: What
does it mean for passengers and drivers?
by Brad Ballard, Marketing and Business Development Manager, TI’s automotive infotainment processors
I’m pretty lucky to work as the marketing manager for automotive
infotainment processors at TI. You see, this technology strongly
influences my personal driving decision as infotainment systems
are a prime example of a technology on the brink of becoming
mainstream. Personally, I look for infotainment systems that are
easy to use, perform well, and complete the tasks I need as a
driver without getting in the way. For this reason, it is especially
satisfying to be part of the Automotive OMAP processor team,
where I have an opportunity to influence the features and capabilities of the devices that implement these important functions
in the car.
Enjoying a road trip? Search for the nearest gas station or
open the sun roof with simple and natural voice commands,
or change the radio station with the wave of a hand.
Simultaneously run graphics-intense navigation in the front
dash, while streaming a movie to the kids in the back seat
and sending tunes to the headphones of the teenager in the
passenger seat.
Concerned about connecting to your music when on the
road? Stream and enjoy your content from cloud \
providers via wireless connectivity to your smartphone or
through the vehicle’s modem.
Rushing to an accident scene as a police officer or medical
provider? Safely operate sirens, lights and speaker systems
in your ambulance or police car via voice and hand controls,
without taking your eyes off the road.
The road to DRA74x (Jacinto 6)
Driven by the increasing features and capabilities introduced in
the consumer space, automotive infotainment systems must also
continuously improve in features and performance. But automotive is somewhat saddled by higher quality standards which
means longer development time. This means that designs that
start today need to utilize the best technology available in order to
be relevant to what the consumer world is doing three years from
now when these infotainment systems launch. This intention to
put the horsepower of tomorrow out there today is the driving
force behind why we created Jacinto 6!
Today’s informative, interactive in-car experiences
Today, TI’s DRAx OMAP (“Jacinto”) family of processors not only
fuels interactive entertainment capabilities in cars, but enables
new conveniences and connectedness for drivers and passengers. Consumers are accustomed to personalized user interfaces,
similar to what smartphones and tablets provide. Graphics-driven
in-dash displays, rich connectivity, and rear-seat entertainment
solutions are now replicating this personalization in cars, and
Jacinto processors are paving the way for these advancements.
As a real-world example of this, read our post about DRA65x
(Jacinto 5) processor inside Audi’s “MIB High” system, which
debuted in the 2012 Audi A3.
With the ability to recognize and run real-time radio, audio and
speech commands, Jacinto processors transform cars into the
ultimate command centers with feature-rich displays, rear-seat
entertainment devices, in-dash multimedia, and radio and navigation capabilities. So, what does this mean for passengers and
Running errands and worried about your pet at home?
Stream real-time, 1080p HD video from your home monitoring
system to the passenger-facing in-dash unit to check on your
furry friend.
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Jacinto 6 builds on the state of the art ARM® CortexTM-A15
dual core processor, and multiple Imagination Technologies’
POWERVR™ SGX544-MPx graphics cores found in OMAP5, and
adds the TI C66x DSP for software defined radio and advanced
audio processing. It also sweetens the peripheral mix by adding
staple automotive peripherals such as CAN, MOST Media Local
Bus (MLB), Ethernet AVB, PCI Express and dual external memory
The result is an industry-leading automotive SoC (System on
Chip) which integrates all facets of center stack electronics;
graphical HMI, multi-display support, vehicle networking, media
decode and radio reception.
One of the more subtle features of Jacinto 6 that is critical to the
success of this integration is that of on-chip memory bandwidth.
Engineers have come to appreciate that TI not only has integrated
all the key features for a rich infotainment experience, but that we
have also paid attention to the details of how data is transferred
through the device, to enable a greater amount of simultaneous
There are a number of SoC’s on the market that carry a subset of
the features that I have discussed here, but the superset is truly
unique, the superset truly saves cost, the superset is Jacinto 6.
Remember, you can find answers to your OMAP processor questions in the OMAP™ Processors Forum on the TI E2E Community.
Texas Instruments
Sneak Peek! Car DVRs based on our DaVinci™ video
by Anshuman Saxena, Business Development Manager, TI video surveillance
product line
Have you ever been in an accident, not been at fault, and wished
you had some way to prove it? If only there was a witness to back
up your story to the cop, judge or insurance company representative. Enter the car digital video recorder (DVR)!
Car DVRs, also known as car black boxes and dashboard
cameras, are an aftermarket car accessory designed to deal
with the unpredictability of other drivers on the road and drivers’
misinterpretation of traffic rules. By recording live streams from
the front and rear of the vehicle, car DVRs provide information to
insurance companies, the legal system and others in the event of
an accident.
With the need for improved video quality and the wider acceptance of full HD content, car DVRs have advanced from a singlechannel analog D1 resolution camera to two full HD (1080p)
wide-angle cameras — one for the front of the car, and one for the
rear. In addition, many sophisticated algorithms are being continually added to these cameras, giving them the “smarts” to detect
people, objects and even sounds around them.
camera to capture great videos while maintaining low bitrate to
save the storage space on local media (such as SD cards).
• The industry’s best low-light performance improves night vision
for quality videos recorded at night, whether on the roads or in
dimly lit parking areas.
• Wide/higher dynamic range enables viewing objects behind
bright headlights of vehicles coming from the opposite direction.
• Integrated connectivity solutions provide a one-stop shop for
Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth® in the car DVR for functionality such
as position tracking/tagging in video as well as streaming to
smartphones, tablets and other connected devices.
• Dedicated DSPs or co-processors offer value-added features like
license plate recognition, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and traffic signal detection.
• TI’s solution enables users to play back real-time recorded video
while live stream recording is still on, ensuring that recording can
take place at all times and no important events will be missed.
As with any good and successful product, the first rule is to get
the basic features right. Considering the car DVR, we believe
that nothing is more basic than image quality, especially at night,
when the camera should still be able to capture clear images of
people, license plates and other objects. It’s important that if a
vehicle has been damaged, the driver has a recorded video with
clear images of the person responsible for the damage as well as
the vehicle’s license plate. Thankfully, a high-quality noise filter
integrated in our DaVinci video processors provides just what we
need to achieve best-in-class low-light imagery.
Click Image to Enlarge
Texas Instrument’s latest DaVinci™ video processors — including the DM38x generation — enable leading car DVRs with twochannel, full HD (1080p) video captures in real-time (30fps). The
processors integrate high-end features such as H264 encore,
SD card storage, GPS/3-axis G-shock sensor and easy-to-up
backup and PC software.
TI’s DaVinci video processor solutions offer several key
• Superior quality H.264 high-profile compression allows the
Texas Instruments
The big question now is not just how car DVR systems will be
integrated into vehicles to provide surveillance and record of car
accidents for investigations, but also how the system’s capabilities will evolve to monitor the driver’s behavior, encourage safe
driving and improve the safety of our vehicles. For now, we are
committed to providing the technology to enable products with
state-of-the-art imaging, encoding, storage and connectivity to
make sure you get the most out of the car DVR sitting behind the
Check out TI’s DaVinci video processors for car DVRs as well
as our car DVR system block diagram. TI has also collaborated
with nSketch to develop the car DVR reference design based on
our DaVinci technology, providing customers with the powerful
features of TI’s processors as well as fast time-to-production.
Details are on the nSketch website.
Remember, you can get answers to your DaVinci video processor
questions in the DaVinci forum at the TI E2E Community.
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
How to improve the startup and stop behavior of
ERM and LRA actuators
by Brian Burk, Application Manager, TI’s Haptics driver products
Eccentric rotating mass motors (ERM) and linear resonant actuators (LRA) are commonly used in smartphone and tablet applications to provide tactile feedback through haptic effects. While
there are many characteristics to consider when designing for
haptic feel, one of the most noticeable traits to users is the start
and stop time of the actuator.
The start time of an actuator is the time it takes to go from 0%
(or driver off) to 90% of the maximum acceleration. Likewise, the
stop time is the time it takes for the actuator to go from when the
driver waveform ends (or driver turns off) to 10% of the maximum.
Click Image to Enlarge
Figure 4: ERM Overdrive and Braking Drive Waveform
For LRAs, overdriving is achieved by applying a higher AC voltage
at the beginning, and applying a 180 degree out-of-phase signal
to brake.
Click Image to Enlarge
Figure 1: Start Time
Figure 2: Stop Time
This start and stop time translates to a qualitative feel that a user
will identify as “sharpness” or “crispness.”
The start time is analogous to a car’s “0-60” time. Let’s take two
cars, one is a fast sports car and the other is an inexpensive
compact. Both cars are stopped at a red light. When the light
turns green, both cars slam the accelerator to the floor and begin
moving. The sports car has a sharp burst of speed and quickly
leaves the compact in the dust. Meanwhile, the compact is only
halfway across the starting line and is far from reaching full speed.
Click Image to Enlarge
Figure 5: LRA Overdrive and Braking Drive Waveform
Figure 3: Overdrive and braking is analogous to 0-60 speed times.
Likewise, some actuators will have very quick start times and
others will have very slow start times. It depends on the design,
manufacturing and type of actuator, all of which can be characterized empirically in the lab.
For haptics in touch screen smartphones, users may notice a
keyboard click is sharper in one phone compared to another. This
is due to the response time of the actuator.
To improve the actuator performance, the actuator driver can
overdrive it to obtain a quicker start time and reverse drive for a
quicker stop time. For ERMs, overdriving is achieved by applying
a higher DC voltage at the beginning, and applying a negative
voltage to brake.
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
TI’s new DRV2605 haptic driver has a feature called “smart loop,”
which uses closed loop feedback to apply the exact overdrive
and brake signal to maximize the start and stop time of an actuator. Smart loop does this by actively monitoring the electromotive
force (back-EMF) signal of the actuator to accurately control the
drive voltage and acceleration.
The result is automatic overdriving and braking for ERMs and
LRAs that simplifies software programming and reduces startup
and braking time by 50 percent. And the DRV2605’s automatic
actuator diagnostics and level tracking feature delivers consistent acceleration over a wide range of environmental conditions.
If you want to get from 0-60 faster than the competition, take the
DRV2605 out for a test drive. You’ll win, every time!
Remember, you can get answers to haptics questions on the
Haptics Forum at the TI E2E Community.
Texas Instruments
Better Eyes for Your Car
by Hannes Estl, Automotive Business Manager, TI’s ADAS systems marketing
In order for most ADAS to work, the car needs to develop its own
situational awareness. This is easy for humans with their set of
finely tuned senses all working together and a brain to process
the information, but difficult for machines. When looking for
something to mimic the functions of our eyes, cameras come to
mind first as an artificial sense.
Basic camera systems in the car only display pictures or video to
the driver, but do not interpret what they actually see. Those types
of cameras would be back up cameras for park assist (allowing
the driver to see behind the car) and surround view systems for
a 360 degree view around the car, eliminating the need to even
turn your head.
Another set of systems actually processes the images and determines if there is a threat for the driver/ car as well as provide
additional information to the driver. Pedestrian detection, blind
spot detection, obstacle detection, traffic sign recognition are
all examples of those camera systems that provide more than
just display an image. In these cases, signal processing technology and software to interpret the data are both key ingredients to
give the car real machine vision capabilities. This basic situational
awareness, in turn, allows the car to make its own decisions and
paves the way to semi- autonomous driving capabilities and accident avoidance.
Eyes like ours alone are not enough though. Unlike humans, for
machines we can create new senses, allowing new capabilities.
Radar systems are one of them. Radar systems function in lower
resolution than visible light, but have the capability to see through
fog and rain. Fusing this new sense of being able to sense for
the driver through fog and rain (that is for example used in cruise
control, distance warning, cross traffic detection) with the camera
systems will allow “auto pilot” like autonomous driving features.
Nobody can tell exactly when self-driving cars will be a common
sight on our streets, but a sensor fused ADAS will certainly play
a key role in them.
For more information on TI’s Automotive Camera System Solutions
check out ti.com/more to read the FPD-Link III with Power-OverCoax complete camera system solution for automotive.
Remember you can get answers to automotive applications
questions on the Automotive Applications Forum at the TI E2E
It is great to add new functions to a car, but it comes at the cost of
additional wiring. With the wiring harness already one of the most
complex and expensive pieces of real estate in the car, adding
more wiring poses challenges. New means of communication
like TI’s FPD-Link III Ser/Des interface ICs allow power, signal
and control over only one single coaxial cable, thus reducing the
needed wiring between camera / radar modules and displays or
processing ECUs to one single wire. This reduces complexity,
weight and the cost of the harness significantly.
Texas Instruments
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Not easy – but benefits outweigh challenges of LEDs
in autos
by John Perry, Strategic Marketing, TI Lighting Power Products
I’ve been driving for almost 30 years now and have owned eight
different vehicles during this time with model years: 1978, 1986,
1989, 1992, 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2011. With one exception,
the 1978 Granada, all of my vehicles were very reliable and still
in great working condition when I traded them in for something
different - which was not always new, or even newer than what I
previously had.
• Long life – tens of thousands of hours of operating time
without lamp replacement – reducing unscheduled vehicle
• 80% less energy consumption than halogen
• Distinctive manufacturer styling options, and most
• Improved means to alter headlamp beam shapes “adaptive
forward lighting,” leading to greater driver safety.
What does it take?
The most basic LED headlamp needs a 10W to 15W switched
mode power supply (SMPS)-based LED driver. And a SMPS,
whether for driving LEDs, or supplying a 5V rail to a microcontroller, creates electromagnetic interference (EMI) which must be
well filtered to prevent coupling into sensitive components.
To mitigate some of the “noise” challenges found in SMPSbased LED drivers, we have created a reference design using
TPS92690-Q1 DC/DC LED lighting controller. We choose this part
for a couple of reasons: 1) it could be used in the EMI friendly Cuk
topology; and 2) we could do LED current sensing in such a way
that it is still possible to have a single wire connection between
the LED driver circuitry and the LEDs themselves making for a
simple means to connect the two. You can read more about it
how it works here.
My 1986 and 1989 vehicles were both used when I purchased
them and had 150,000+ miles when I traded them in 2000. Of
course, as automobiles age they need more maintenance than
when they are new. This is true of most any ‘durable goods’ item.
My 1986 and 1989 vehicles were not on the Consumer Reports®
recommended list, but they held up well anyway. Why?
Automotive manufacturers have long valued simplicity in their
designs. Simple usually works better and lasts longer. Even as
manufacturers embrace our demand for more ever increasing
convenience and safety features, typically
with lots of electronics, they still prefer the
simplest approach. It is what keeps their
quality and reliability high.
Imagine if your head lamps automatically adjusted its light distribution when another car approached.
And yes, LED systems for the most part aren’t easy, but for those
of you in a hurry or just getting started in LED lighting design, try
out TI’s WEBENCH® LED Architect to speed up and simplify the
Remember, you can get answers to WEBENCH power and lighting tools questions on the WEBENCH Design Center Power and
Lighting Tools Forum on the TI E2E Community.
Today, the auto industry is in transition from
incandescent to LED-based lighting – it
started with brake lights and is in full conversion with turn lamps, daytime running lights,
and now headlamps.
Unfortunately, LED-based systems are not
simpler than the incandescent they are
replacing. It is hard to beat the utilitarian
approach of battery-switch-lamp, however,
LED systems provide significant benefits
that make the complexity worth the effort:
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Texas Instruments
Analog drives automotive solutions
by Hagop Kozanian, VP TI Worldwide Analog Marketing
Welcome back once again! My last post honed in on some of the
latest innovations in the industrial segment. Check it out here. In
today’s post I want to take a closer look at the automotive industry
where we are seeing very cool developments taking place.
Infotainment systems
Shifts in consumer expectations are among the most dynamic
changes in today’s automotive market. What do you look for
when you are buying a new car? In previous generations young
car buyers cared most about the speed and look of their vehicles. Today, it’s a very different story. These buyers want to stay
every bit as connected behind the wheel as they are elsewhere.
This shift in mindset is driving automobile manufacturers to create
complex infotainment systems that look and behave much like
tablet computers we use every day. Check out this complete
system block diagram that shows what’s involved with creating
an infotainment system:
Active safety and advanced driver assistance
Imagine a world where cars automatically correct mistakes made
by the driver, eliminating avoidable accidents. These are now
becoming a reality! Active safety is a very exciting opportunity
in the automotive segment. When we drive at highway speeds
today, we trust that other drivers just a few meters away are
competent behind the wheel. That’s not always the case. Imagine
technology-based safety mechanisms that, for example, apply
the brakes before an imminent collision. Those types of technologies are available in some cars today, and manufacturers will
increasingly include more advanced safety features in the future.
Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge
Customers are re-defining automotive infotainment using TI solutions, paving the way for an unparalleled in-vehicle experience
with entertainment and telematics functionality.
Start-stop capability
Another clever automotive feature is the
start-stop capability. A
gasoline-powered engine
automatically shuts off
when it comes to a stop,
and then restarts when
the driver presses the
accelerator. This innovation actually reduces fuel
consumption by at least
10 percent. And with the
ever-increasing cost of
fuel, every penny counts! While it may sound simple, the technology behind it is quite complex. As summer temperatures soar and
we get stuck in traffic, we need sensors to tell the air-conditioning
compressors to keep blowing cold air on us. Given that the engine
belt is stopped, the compressor motors need to be electrically
driven. That capability requires FETs, motor-control chips, microcontrollers and communication chips.
Texas Instruments
Automotive vision control
Automotive vision control systems process digital information
from sources like digital cameras, LIDAR (light distance and
range), radar and other sensors to perform tasks like lane departure warning, blind spot detection or parking assistance. The
processed information can be displayed on screens or announced
via acoustical warning signals, or with haptic feedback such as a
vibrating steering wheel. These systems include power supplies
to regulate to voltages for digital signal processors (DSPs); microcontrollers to handle system control functions and communication with other modules in the car; and communication interfaces
to exchange data between independent electronic modules in the
car. Check out our video on how rear-view cameras are quickly
becoming an integral part of driver-assistance systems.
Car black box
We hear so much about the black boxes being used in airplanes
and how invaluable is the data they collect. This same concept is
now being applied to automobiles. Car black boxes, using digital
video recorders, monitor and record activities in or outside the
car in a panoramic fashion using its front, rear and optional side
cameras. Videos can be stored on a local disk and viewed on
the car’s display monitor, or streamed remotely using a wireless
connection. The next time you find yourself saying it wasn’t your
fault at the scene or in court, you could have the data to back up
your story!
These are just some of the advancements being made available
to car manufacturers as they roll their new designs. And many
more are to come. If consumers want it, there’s a good chance it
will become a reality!
Remember, you can get answers to your automotive applications
questions on the Automotive Applications Forum at the TI E2E
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Hot off the manifold
by Surinder Singh, TI WEBENCH Design Center Power Applications Manager
The exhibit at Florida’s Fort Myer’s airport, when I landed there
last week, consisted of classic automobiles produced by Henry
Ford. The antique Ford cars from almost a century ago were on
display on the airport concourse. The cars looked majestic and
classic, especially the iconic black Model-T. That shiny ModelT, with a life-size cutout of Henry Ford alongside, is a marvel of
mechanical engineering genius. But that century old car did not
have one thing we take for granted now—electronics.
In contrast to a century ago, cars today are chockfull of semiconductors. Billions of transistors on hundreds of integrated circuits
are busy humming along to make vehicles of today very sophisticated pieces of engineering.
We often overlook the enormous amount of semiconductor
content in a car, even when it is right in front of us:
Numerous microcontrollers making millions of floating point
calculations to keep the vehicle running.
Sensors embedded all over the vehicle collecting and
processing complex information.
Motor drivers are controlling motors in the car, which may
number in dozens.
Radio-frequency chips are receiving and sensing signals to
keep us connected, positioned and safe.
Audio electronics play our favorite songs and video keeps our
kids riveted in the back seat.
FPGA system supply, for example. But what we had not done
yet was focus on designing WEBENCH tools just for automotive. So I’ve devoted the last 14 months of work to enhancing our
WEBENCH design tools for automotive applications. New today
is “WEBENCH Automotive Designer,” that I think will help you
rapidly design and prototype these systems. You get access to
the same powerful suite of tools that WEBENCH has offered for
commercial applications, but now you can focus on automotive
electronics. It’s easy as always (if it is not, please let me know!):
•Visit www.ti.com/webenchautomotive and start from the
WEBENCH Automotive Panel
• Enter your criteria, such as 9V to 18 V input, 3.3 V output at
2A of output current
• Check the automotive box
• Optimize for cost, size and efficiency
• Select from a range of analysis
For you visual folks, I make my acting debut in a video here that
shows you the process step-by-step.
I’d like to think that portions of the next car I purchase might be
designed using TI’s WEBENCH tools. I’d be pretty proud of that.
I enjoyed focusing in on automotive, and hope that you find it
Remember, you can get answers to WEBENCH questions on the
WEBENCH Design Center forums on the TI E2E Community.
As well, these sophisticated systems need to be
powered at precision voltage and current levels.
Our car is now less of a car, and more of a sophisticated network of electronics. There are, I read
somewhere, about 10 billion transistors in a
typical car today.
As the automobile industry is making strides,
designers of automobile systems are faced with
additional challenges. The automobile systems
are complex and they need to be designed
to exacting standards of safety and reliability.
Semiconductors in automobiles are subject to a
very harsh operating environment, but are expected to perform at enhanced levels of reliability.
Selecting automotive grade electronics from the
millions of electronic components available today
is not a trivial task.
At Texas Instruments, my job is to try to simplify the design process for all the engineers out
there. I think we have done a pretty good job with
WEBENCH® so far, helping engineers to quickly
get a 12V input to 3.3V output buck power supply
out the door, to designing a complex multiple-rail
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Texas Instruments
Coming soon to automotive touchscreens: haptic
by Mark Toth, Business Development Manager, TI’s Haptics driver products
It’s probably a fair assumption that you interact daily with touchscreen or touchpad interfaces on your phone, tablet, notebook,
or maybe even your microwave! And if you follow the automotive industry (or even if you don’t), you’ve probably seen various
advertisements and articles promising how your car’s information and entertainment systems are going to become more like a
multimedia tablet – running apps, streaming data and media wirelessly and providing touch-based controls. Sounds pretty cool,
Haptic feedback is a technology that allows a touchscreen or
other touch surface to provide you with tactile feedback, using
vibrations generated by specialized ICs, such as the DRV2605
and DRV2667, and ERM or piezo actuators. Let’s look at an
example. Figure 2 shows a crude example of what the “Home”
screen on a touch-based center console might look like.
The feedback, or effects, can change dynamically depending on
the button pressed or knob turned. By using these haptic effects,
the driver can control and navigate the infotainment system by
touch, while minimizing the time spent looking down at the screen.
Figure 1: Touch-based controls provide tablet-like navigation and infotainment
at your fingertips.
Click Image to Enlarge
We can all think of a million scenarios where we use our mobile
devices – maybe you’re stuck in an airport, waiting to meet a
friend, or just in between business appointments. You pull out
your smartphone or tablet to fire off a quick email, read the latest
online news, or stream your favorite ‘guilty pleasure’ TV show. In
any case, you’ve got all eyes (and probably ears and hands) on
your mobile device. That makes it pretty easy to watch the screen
as you swipe, pinch, scroll and tap your way through the menus
to the content you want.
Now let’s think back to the car that promises to behave like a tablet.
Hmm, your eyes are on the road, hopefully you’ve got at least one hand
on the wheel, and you’re trying to stay aware of the other vehicles on
the road as you maneuver to
get in the proper lane for your
upcoming turn. Not exactly
the same as that ‘tablet-like’
experience, right?
However, there is a way to
combine the tablet-like mobile
app, media and connectivity
experience with a user interface suitable for the unique
challenges of the car.
Figure 3: Haptic effect mapping to the touch-screen panel.
Figure 3 shows a diagram of this screen illustrating how different
haptic effects (“buzz”, “click”, “bump”, etc.) can map to different
regions on the touchscreen. Without looking at the display, you
can drag your finger along the screen, locating the appropriate
control by feel – each region would trigger the appropriate “Find”
effect. When you find the correct control, you can select it by
tapping or increasing the pressure on the screen, which triggers
the “Select” effect to confirm the input. All while keeping your
eyes on the road. And each system ‘sub-function’ (audio, navigation, vehicle control) can have its own dynamic haptic map.
As you can imagine, the possibilities are endless! The creativity
of the automotive industry’s talented user interface designers will
guide the direction of touchscreen center consoles. So next time
you’re thinking about that ‘tablet-like’ experience, take a trip to
your local car dealer!
Better yet, learn more about haptics technology and TI’s haptics
products by visiting www.ti.com/haptics and get answers to
haptics questions on the Haptics forum at the TI E2E Community.
Figure 2: Touch-enabled home screen example.
Texas Instruments
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Get Your Motor Running: AEC-Q100 automotive
grade drivers
and more industrial customers select Q100 qualified parts over
standard industrial grade due to the more rigorous testing.
by Michael Firth, WW Marketing, TI High-Performance Analog
In my frequent travels, I get to “test drive” a lot of rental cars. And
to be honest, until recently I was the type of person to drive a car
until the wheels fall off. Well I have to hand it to the boys in Detroit,
they’ve finally figured out a way to get even me to buy a new car
– the massive electrification of the automobile.
Cars today have so many cool electronic features, such as sync
support for your smart phone, in-cabin infotainment systems,
blind spot detection, adaptive front lighting, memory position
seating, and active cabin noise suppression, just to name a few.
All of these cool features got me to thinking about what it takes
to get an integrated circuit (IC) designed into an automotive
Turns out, it has to be AEC-Q100 qualified. AEC stands for
Automotive Electronics Council and is a JEDIC spinoff whose
focus is to define automotive-grade device requirements. There
are numerous detailed specs to meet, but let’s see if we can’t
break down at a high level what Q100 qualified means.
AEC-Q100 starts by defining five different temperature grades
that specify the ambient operating temperature range for a given
device. For example, Grade 1 is pretty common for in-cabin applications and specifies that the device can operate in an ambient
of -40°C to +125°C (-40°F below zero to +257°F). In addition, the
device’s electrical specs are typically guaranteed over this operating range. For some non-automotive devices, this is not the
case as their specs may only be guaranteed at room temperature.
If you check out the DRV8801-Q1 brushed DC motor driver data
sheet, you will see that the electrical characteristics table has a
note at the top stating the specs are guaranteed over the entire
Grade 1 operating range.
Another key AEC-Q100 compliance requirement is related to how
the device is qualified for production. Before any IC is released
to production, it must pass a series of electrical, lifetime and
reliability stress tests. For an automotive qualified IC, the tests
are much stricter than those of an industrial or commercial IC.
The temperature grade again comes into play here, as different temperature grades have different qual requirements, with
Grade 0 (-40°C to +150°C) the most stringent and needed for
power train/under the hood applications. These stringent qualification tests ensure reliable operation and long lifetimes in the
harsh automotive environment. And Q100 applications aren’t just
limited to the automotive market anymore as I am seeing more
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Click Image to Enlarge
Device manufacturing and design change notifications are also
handled differently. With an automotive grade device, the re-qualification and change notification requirements are much stricter
than with industrial or commercial devices. For example, many
minor process changes performed on industrial devices do not
require customer notification or re-qualification of the device, but
in automotive they do.
Sometimes there are exceptions to AEC-Q100 specs which
are perfectly acceptable depending on the customer or application. These exceptions, along with a list of all qualification
tests performed on the device can be found in the Production
Part Approval Process (PPAP) documentation. For example, one
common exception is ESD performance. AEC-Q100 requires the
device withstand 2000 V Human Body Model (HBM) and a Charge
Device Model (CDM) of 750 V on corner pins and 500 V all other
pins. To find the ESD specs,
refer to the device’s data sheet.
For example, the datasheet for
the DRV8832-Q1 a 1A brushed
DC motor driver, lists the ESD
specs on the front page. The
ESD specs are listed based on
the AEC-Q100 classification
codes which are listed in the
below tables.
Note: Minimum AEC-Q100 spec
requirements are H1A (HBM)
and C4B (CDM)
Click Image to Enlarge
In summary, there is a lot that goes into making an automotive
grade IC. So next time you are in a new car that is totally decked
out with electronics, take a minute to think about all the engineering that goes into bringing those electronics to life.
For more info on motor drivers, check out my Engineer It videos
on “How to select a pre-driver vs. an integrated motor driver” or
“Understanding basic BLDC operation.” You can always ask me a
question in the comment section or visit TI’s Motor Driver Forum
or Automotive Forum to search for answers, ask the experts or
share your experience.
I also want to encourage you to visit our Automotive blog called
“Behind the Wheel” to find out how TI is engineering the future of
Texas Instruments
TI and QNX: Driving Infotainment Forward
by Robert Tolbert, Product Management Director, TI OMAP applications
My role as a business development and product marketing manager
in Texas Instruments’ (TI) automotive infotainment processor business
allows me the opportunity to travel the globe, discussing technology
with the brightest minds in automotive infotainment.
I’ve learned that no matter where the discussion begins — replacing the vehicle boot microcontroller in Detroit, choosing between
MOST-MLB and Ethernet AVB in Japan, blending FM and DAB
radio in Germany, or fire-walling the vehicle CAN bus in Korea — the
conversation always loops back to software, or even more pointedly,
hardware and software systems. Inevitably, at this point, the customer
begins to tense up and I in turn get a chance to relax and explain
the value of the well-established relationship between QNX Software
Systems and TI.
OEMs and tier one suppliers place an extremely high value on trust,
dependability, and commitment to excellence when choosing their
partners. Vehicle owners are no different. It is easy for QNX and TI
to show OEMs that our longstanding relationship embodies all these
A matter of trust
QNX Software Systems and TI have been working together for more
than 10 years, and the longevity of the relationship is based on the
premise that industry-leading automotive infotainment processors (i.e.
TI’s DRA74x “Jacinto 6”) and industry leading software platforms (i.e.
QNX CAR Platform) are somewhat diminished if they aren’t harmonized to take full advantage of all the hardware has to offer.
Once a customer decides to work with QNX Software Systems and
TI, they can trust that both companies have spent numerous years
and countless hours working together to extract the maximum performance out of the SoC platform. It is easy to see that QNX is there
with TI when a new SoC first arrives, working alongside TI’s engineers
to get the latest QNX software running on Jacinto within days. OEMs
and tier ones can trust that engineers from both companies have
collaborated with one another to deliver QNX board support packages on Jacinto with optimized drivers and integrated middleware. This
collaboration saves tier one suppliers precious time when doing their
own board bring-up or board support package.
Integrated SDR
An example is in order. To accelerate time to market and reduce tier
one integration efforts, TI and QNX Software Systems have integrated
software defined radio running on the Jacinto C66x DSP into the QNX
CAR Platform. This pre-integration step minimizes the amount of
effort that tier ones expend when integrating HD and DAB radio functions into their head unit designs.
Texas Instruments
TI and QNX can build a longstanding relationship with customers by
demonstrating the number of products tailored for automotive that
both companies have released over the years. Developing automotive
products is a strand in the DNA of both companies, not this year’s
latest venture.
With trust comes the expectation of dependability, and I expect
nothing less when making my own automobile purchasing decisions.
I want to know that I can depend on the dealer and the manufacturer
when I encounter any issue
with my vehicle. I see and
hear that same belief when
speaking with our customers as they go through their
vendor selection process.
Customers want to know can
they depend on TI and QNX
Software Systems to help
them solve critical problems
during their design cycle.
They want to hear how the
two companies triage issues
Click Image to Enlarge
Reducing boot time
Recently, TI and QNX Software Systems were tasked by a mutual
customer using a DRA62x “Jacinto 5 Eco” platform to reduce the HMI
boot time and to display the vehicle splash screen within a very short
time frame. Our teams attacked this requirement head on and held
various architecture reviews, ultimately restructuring the Jacinto 5 Eco
/ QNX boot process to have critical elements running in parallel, while
taking advantage of the Cortex M3 cores and the QNX microkernel
architecture. After careful optimization we achieved a boot time and
a splash screen appearance in line with the customer requirements.
The customer was extremely pleased with our collaborative efforts.
Timely resolution
TI and QNX Software Systems have an established process for joint
debug sessions with customers to aid in timely resolution of issues.
Our customer support engineers pull from their vast experience in
solving automotive issues, along with the knowledge gained from
joint architecture and design reviews. By seeing that TI and QNX
know how to solve automotive issues and have shown the propensity
to work together over the years, customers quickly realize that they
can depend on us.
Finally there is value placed on the commitment to excellence. When
someone has a commitment to excellence it is not only visible in
their past and present but you can see it in their future as well. Most
recently, QNX Software Systems and TI collaborated for a glimpse
into the not-so-distant future when QNX unveiled the QNX technology concept car powered by OMAP™ processors and DLP™
It doesn’t take OEMs and tier ones long to realize that the attributes
vehicle owners demand of them are present in the collaboration
between QNX Software Systems and TI. To view more blogs from my
team and I, please be sure to check out Behind The Wheel.
I can’t wait to get back on the road again to tell our joint customers
our story.
Remember, you can get answers to your Jacinto automotive OMAP
processor questions at the TI E2E Community.
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
The new “connected” vehicle: car-to-car and car-toinfrastructure communication
by Chuck Brokish, Distinguished Member Technical Staff (DMTS), Texas
There are opportunities for improvements in driving safety and efficiency by sharing information between vehicles like traffic speed and
density, road hazards (i.e. icy roads) and informing neighboring vehicles of driver intentions such as lane changes and braking. By going
beyond vehicle-to-vehicle communications and achieving vehicle-toinfrastructure, we can then share that information with other vehicles
that are not even on the road – allowing drivers to optimize their route
and ease the burden of the transportation infrastructure.
We’ve all been to a ball game, concert or some type large gathering where everyone attempts to leave at the same time. We sit in
traffic, with our blood pressure rising faster than the temperature of
the idling engine, as we go nowhere on an “expressway”. Now, have
you driven down a country road, and seen the flocks of hundreds or
even thousands of birds on the power line? As you drive near, you
see them all fly away at the same time. They all seem to swoop away
as one single entity, communicating with each other with minimal
wasted movement and relocate quickly to a new location. Why can’t
we seem to do the same thing as we leave the ballpark?
Today, almost every vehicle claims to have some form of connection.
This can range from having a cable hooked up to perform a firmware
upgrade, a satellite connection to download routing information or
being fully connected to the internet via WiFi or the latest wireless
modem technology.
We are headed to the point where a truly connected vehicle has the
ability to be connected to the network and is actually an integral
part of the network. Not only are the processors within the vehicle
connected to each other, but they are also an important part of the
network and processing for neighboring vehicles as well as the
roadway system itself.
Vehicles currently come equipped with adaptive cruise control, lane
departure warning, emergency antilock braking and other capabilities for the vehicle to inform us of hazards then intelligently make
decisions for us. However, we have not yet begun to tap into what’s
possible if we connect these vehicles together. We receive some
information from the infrastructure today through traffic channels on
our GPS to inform us of traffic delays and allow us to re-route, but
there’s a lot more that can be done. Of course, the holy grail seems
to an autonomous vehicle, but there are a lot of opportunities in
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Imagine our vehicles connected together and to the infrastructure.
Now imagine these vehicles communicating in an efficient manner
enabling everyone to flow in an orderly manner with optimal efficiency, getting everyone where they need to go. No need for traffic cops
on the corner to tell us who should go first. The software to optimize
the flow already exists all over already. We have it in Ethernet controllers, as well as many other communications networks. When there’s
heavy data flow there may be an increase in latency, but we are still
able to recognize maximum system bandwidth.
There is genuine opportunity for improved driving experience that
will reduce driver frustration and allow us to save billions of dollars
in roadway infrastructure through more efficient use of the existing
system. But we need to first recognize the truly “connected vehicle”.
Remember, you can find answers to your automotive application
processor questions in the OMAP™ Applications Forum at the TI E2E
Texas Instruments
From big gulps and cup holders to MP3 players and
USB ports
by Thomas Lewis, Systems & Applications Manager, TI Power Interface
product line
Dealer: “Take a seat young man. This 1983 Chrysler New Yorker
has everything someone your age wants. From an in-dash
cassette player to 3 cup holders within reaching distance… it’s
got it all.”
Yesterday’s Big Gulp is today’s Little Gadget and we want it to
be fully charged at all times. We expect every USB port to charge
anything we plug into it – much like we expect our cup holders
to adapt to any size cup, can or mug we throw at it. And therein
lays the technical challenge. As each manufacturer of our favorite
electric gadgets implemented their own unique “charging ID” to
ensure a safe and speedy charge (see Figure 2 below), what is a
USB port to do?
Younger Version of Me: “That’s cool. I am addicted to Big Gulps –
will they fit in the holders?”
Dealer (excited I asked): “You bet. Watch what happens when I
extend this one. It expands to hold just about any size smaller
than a swimming pool. From your Big Gulp to your 8 ounce Coke
can, this baby has you covered.”
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Car aficionados’ aside, many of us (or those we know anyway)
make their final car selection based on criterion outside of more
practical data points such as gas mileage and safety ratings. And
even those who do start off narrowing their selection set along
more practical means almost always take into account “cabin
amenities” when making that final purchase decision. From the
look of the dash to the lumbar support of the seat to the quality of
the installed sound system, many buyers spend more time investigating the cabin than out on the road test driving. Combine this
with our ever-increasing addiction to our smart phones, tablets
and other electronic do-dads, and the real power (pun intended)
of “USB ports everywhere” becomes clear.
Click Image to Enlarge
Luckily, most car manufacturers are figuring out that buying a
$20, $30, or $40-thousand dollar car comes with the expectation
that we can charge anything with a USB port. Working with IC
vendors, they are defining and adopting sophisticated ICs which
– through the power of embedded algorithms – are able to detect
what has been connected and automatically respond. In the case
of Texas Instruments, that solution is the TPS2511-Q1. Fully
Q-100 qualified, this 8-pin controller supports over 100 USB-port
ready gadgets available today and the list keeps growing as more
products continue to flood the market.
In short, good luck finding a cup that won’t fit.
Related Resources
TPS2511 PSpice Transient Model (Simulation Models)
TPS2511 Evaluation Module (Evaluation Modules & Boards)
PowerLab Notes: how to build a car charger
Remember, you can get answers to your power interface question
in the Power Interface Forum at the TI E2E Community.
Texas Instruments
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Driving safety at TI
by Brian Fortman, Product Marketing Manager, TI’s Hercules™ microcontrollers
The automotive market is a massive focus for TI. But as you might
imagine, there are many electronic components in an average
auto. TI conceives designs and manufactures many of the semiconductors used in cars today – from the wireless key fob to the
automotive infotainment systems to the motors that move seats,
pump fluids, wipe windshields and much more.
Carmakers have always been concerned with safety, but today
they are employing an increasing amount of electronics in the
vehicle controlling safety-critical functions to create the today’s
driving experience. TI has been involved in creating solutions
targeted at automotive functional safety for nearly 20 years. In the
beginning, TI components were targeted at safety-critical applications, such as anti-lock braking and airbags. However, over the
years, our components have evolved to include other safety critical applications, such as electronic power steering and advanced
driver assistance systems.
Industry-wide safety standards, such as ISO 26262 and IEC
61508, set guidelines and rules for the development and function
of automotive safety-critical applications. Last year, TI unveiled
SafeTI™ Design Packages, SafeTI-26262 and SafeTI-61508.
These packages combine TI’s hardware (analog and embedded
processing) with the software, documentation, tools and are built
on a quality manufacturing process using our safety development
process that’s been certified by independent third-party assessor
TUV SUD. These SafeTI Design Packages can help save customers time and money when developing end auto (and other) safety
applications and help make the certification process much easier.
Click Image to Enlarge
At the core
Specifically, my team manufacturers Hercules™ microcontrollers
targeted at functional safety applications. This includes a variety
of applications in industrial and transportation, including automotive. You’re probably wondering what makes these Hercules
MCUs ideal for automotive functional safety applications. While
many competing solutions focus on software for safety, TI’s
Hercules MCUs integrate on hardware safety features, in addition
to some software, which frees up processing headroom but also
simplifies the safety justification effort required to prove conformance to the standards.. For the Hercules MCUs, TI licenses the
ARM® Cortex™-R core from ARM Limited. TI uses dual ARM
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Cortex-R cores that work in lockstep, integrate program and
data memory on-chip and also add a variety of analog and digital
peripherals, on-chip self-test peripherals, software and tools.
There are several reasons the ARM Cortex-R cores are used
for our Hercules MCUs. The Cortex-R core offers much higher
performance than the Cortex-M core while offering the deterministic operation that can be difficult to achieve with an application processor like the Cortex-A series. Based on performance,
the Cortex-R is positioned between Cortex-A and Cortex-M
but, in general, is targeted in-silicon for microcontrollers vs.
The dual ARM Cortex-R4 cores use tightly coupled low-latency
memories local to the processor, which allow for quicker responses to real-time events and high-performance interrupt handling
that is both predictable and bounded to help you budget and meet
your real-time deadlines. The high performance and high determinism of the Cortex-R enables very quick response in real-time
to events that a functional safety application probably requires.
These dual cores in lockstep (DCLS) are especially beneficial if
you are a software engineer. There are a couple of specific challenges with the independent core approach. First, you have to
write “extra” code on each MCU to monitor the other. Second,
you have now made that extra code a fundamental part of your
system safety case which means you must create all of the documentation of the development process of every line of that code.
“Dual core lockstep” may be easier to think about as a combination of a main processor and the checker. As a programmer, your
core/programming model is no different from a “typical” single
core MCU. The second core, the checker, along with comparison logic, now does the job (and then some) of the “extra” code
above. In fact, the comparison logic can signal a fault in just a
few CPU cycles compared to the discrete core approach that
could take hundreds or even thousands of cycles to detect and
notify. So, DCLS is much faster at detecting the fault and can
save person-weeks of software development time.
If you’re interested in experimenting with ARM Cortex-R cores,
you should try out TI’s dual-core Hercules LaunchPad for just
$19.99. It’s an easy (and inexpensive) way to evaluate the ARM
Cortex-R core and TI’s Hercules MCUs. And if you want a more
in-depth study of the Hercules safety features and their advantages check out the SafeTI™ Hitex Safety Kit.
Remember, you can get answers to your Hercules MCU questions on the Hercules™ Safety Microcontrollers Forum at the TI
E2E Community.
Texas Instruments
Needed: Crashless Cars
By Brooke Williams, ADA Processor Business Manager, TI
While Houston has helped solve many of the world’s challenges, our
TI team in Houston and worldwide is working tirelessly to solve yet
another. The freedom to travel in a car has become part of human
nature, and when all goes well, it’s an amazing enabler. But when
things go wrong, it comes at a tremendous cost of money, energy
and time and a staggering number of people lose their lives. World
Health Organization data shows over 1.2 million people die worldwide
per year in vehicle related accidents. Over 32 thousand of those lives
lost are in the US alone; that is nearly 90 people per day. Imagine a
major airliner crash in the U.S. every third day – would you dare to get
in an airplane? Clearly that freedom is worth the risk, but the fatality
rate must be lowered! Good news, the technology exists today that
will drive that trend.
Active safety technology is advancing rapidly and Advanced Driver
Assistance Systems (ADAS) is the key application that will continue
to dramatically improve vehicle safety. Active safety systems are
designed to prevent a crash, going beyond today’s passive safety
systems such as airbags that protect occupants after a crash.
Typical ADAS enabled cars on the road today use camera and radar
sensors to identify dangerous situations and warn the driver to react
(see image below), thereby improving the driver error rate, currently
responsible for 93 percent of accidents.
Texas Instruments
The most intelligent ADAS have the ability to take control of the
vehicle, applying the brakes or turning the steering wheel, reducing
driver error rates which improve the odds of avoiding the accident or
reducing the severity. Next generation systems will enable a semiautonomous state where the car is in control in deterministic driving
modes, but with the driver in a ready state to take control in nondeterministic situations. In the future, the much discussed autonomous car will become a reality so we can continue our busy lives
during our trips, without driver error and accidents.
The lifesaving benefits of ADAS motivate me and the TI ADAS team
to push the envelope of semiconductor technology and drive ADAS
performance and affordability to enable pervasive deployment
around the globe. Learn more about TI’s ADAS innovations here. Our
governments and insurance providers are taking note of the efficacy
of current systems and are driving deployment using safety ratings,
mandates and insurance rate discounts. Drivers are realizing the
benefits at an exponential rate, and the crash rates are on that critical
downward trend. And for a father of three kids who will soon experience that freedom, crashless cars can’t arrive soon enough.
Remember, you can find answers to your automotive applications questions in the Automotive Applications Forum at the TI E2E
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
IEEE 802.3: The birth of PoDL
by David Abramson, IC Designer, TI Power Interface
As the 4-Pair Power over Ethernet (PoE) study group waits for
approval to become the IEEE P802.3bt task force, I want to take the
opportunity to talk about the other study group I am a part of. In July,
the 1-Pair Power over Data Lines (PoDL) study group was formed
after a successful call for interest. The goal of the PoDL study group
(and soon to be task force) is to provide a standard for powering data
terminal equipment over a single twisted pair of cable.
While some of you may realize that this technology has been used in
telephones for more than a century, the driving force behind the push
for a standard is the automotive industry. In fact, the main application for PoDL will be Reduced Twisted Pair Gigabit Ethernet (RTPGE),
for which a standard is currently under development by the IEEE
P802.3bp task force. RTPGE is focused on reducing both the cost of
implementing Ethernet in automobiles, as well as reducing the weight
of vehicles (thus improving fuel economy).
The PoDL study group met for the first time in York, England in
September and completed the three goals of a study group—
completing a Project Authorization Request (PAR), answering the
5 Criteria, and writing objectives. The IEEE802.3 Working Group
will put these documents to a vote for approval in November at the
Plenary Session in Dallas, Texas. If approved, the study group will
become the IEEE P802.3bu task force and will meet for the first time
in January 2014 in Indian Wells, California.
I want to spend a little time discussing the objectives proposed by
the PoDL study group as I believe writing the objectives is the most
important thing a study group does (as well as the most interesting).
The proposed objectives are:
Specify a power distribution technique for use over a single
twisted pair link segment.
Allow for operation if data is not present.
Support voltage and current levels for the automotive, transporta
tion, and industrial control industries.
Do not preclude compliance with standards used in automotive,
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
transportation, and industrial control industries when applicable.
Support fast-startup operation using predetermined voltage/
current configurations and optional operation with run-time
voltage/current configuration.
Ensure compatibility with IEEE P802.3bp (e.g., EMI, channel defi
nition, noise requirements).
A few of these (1st, 4th, 6th) are straightforward and don’t need to be
elaborated on, but the others may be more meaningful than meets
the eye. The 2nd objective is important because it allows this standard to be used for more than just the Ethernet links in automobiles.
It allows the data and power to be sent over separate cables if a user
deems it necessary.
The 3rd objective is interesting because voltage and current levels
used in these different applications may vary greatly leading to a very
flexible standard. Again, this will allow the standard to be used in a
wide array of applications.
Finally, the 5th objective was the one that generated the most discussion at the meeting. This objective is meant to address the problem
that many systems in automobiles need to startup extremely quickly
once the car is started. In fact, the RTPGE group has an objective to develop an option startup procedure that enables valid data
within 100 milliseconds (ms). Obviously, if PoDL is being used to
power the link, the 100ms includes the time that it takes to power
up the Ethernet PHYs. In PoE, where detection and classification are required before power up, the total turn on time takes a
few hundred milliseconds. Now, with that background, you can
see that this objective implies that detection and classification may
not be performed on ports with a predetermined voltage/current
Related resources:
Application note - Implementing a 60-W End-to-End PoE System
Download - PoE PD Efficiency Calculator tool
System block diagram - Power-over-Ethernet (PoE)
Power products - PoE Powered device (PD) products
Power products - PoE Power sourcing equipment (PSE) products
Remember, you can find answers to your power management questions in the Power Management Forums at the TI E2E Community.
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Visualizing A Safer Drive With The Next Generation
of Head-Up Displays
by Alan Rankin, Business Development Manager, Texas Instruments DLP
puts on polarized sunglasses. Also, without enough brightness and
color saturation, many of the current HUD systems are difficult to
see in high sunlight conditions. DLP-based HUD systems overcome
these challenges and are viewable in any sunlight condition, even if
you have your sunglasses on.
The act of driving is a complex orchestration that demands constant
attention from nearly all of our senses (thankfully, our taste buds
can have a break). Of those, keeping our vision focused on the
road ahead is paramount. In fact, taking our eyes off the road, even
to glance at the speedometer or other dashboard gauges, can be
hazardous during more critical driving situations. Add in the other
systems that vie for our attention - nav system, ADAS info (ex blind
spot warning), radio, climate control, and your phone - and it can get
overwhelming quickly.
Head-up displays (or head-up display / HUD) have been added to
a select few car models over the past two decades or so, and are
borne out of technology used in military aviation. While more car
manufacturers have made a HUD an available option for car buyers in
recent years, the capabilities from a user experience standpoint have
remained at a bit of a standstill in a few key areas: Limited visual area,
limited information, and underwhelming image quality and brightness.
Here at TI, we see automotive HUD as a major growth area, not just
because it’s VERY cool tech (and we love working to make tech even
better), but because it will help make driving even safer.
Think back to when you were using a dialup modem to access
the internet (does anyone remember Gopher?)...page loads were
measured in seconds, not milliseconds and the hottest ‘dynamic’
content were animated gifs. Now fast forward a few years and think
about the transformation that took place with the advent of broadband connections. We didn’t just do the same things faster - we
started doing entirely new things online.
We are on the brink of a similar transition with HUD technology. The
automotive industry has made incremental improvements in HUD
technology since the introduction of the first automotive HUD by GM
in 1988, but these improvements were akin to upgrading your dialup
modem from 9600 baud to 14.4 to 28.8 to 56k. The function and
content of HUD systems has fundamentally not changed in 25 years.
Enter DLP - the broadband of HUD. DLP is destined to do to HUD
what broadband did to the internet.
So what kind of possibilities does DLP bring to HUD systems? The
long term possibilities are of course difficult to predict (think Minority
Report, Iron Man, etc) but, in the short term, we definitely see the
HUD becoming the “aggregator” screen for the overwhelming amount
of disparate pieces of driver info.
Imagine if, without having to take your eyes off the road or even
change your focus distance, you could have all of your relevant information displayed in a “virtual” image that is as clear and crisp as any
of the “real” displays in your car. Additionally, since a HUD image
appears to be at some distance in front of the windshield, it opens
the possibility having the image interact with the environment in front
of the car. If the image is wide enough and at a far enough focal
distance, you can begin to turn the science fiction from movie like
Minority Report/Iron Man into science fact (more on this in a future
Imagine having DLP - the same imaging technology that’s used in
nearly all the digital movie theatre screens around the world – in your
dashboard…Not just the same things “faster” but entirely new things.
First shown at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show
(see the photo below), our DLP-powered HUD is setting new standards for HUD technology Field of view (FOV) - FOV determines the size of your HUD image.
FOV is to HUD what bandwidth is to your internet connection.
Increase the FOV, the HUD image size increases. Just like with TVs
or any other screen, if you want to increase the size without hurting
image performance, you need to make increase both brightness and
resolution. DLP provides both, enabling HUD images that are 2x
larger than the best in market today
So stay tuned to the Behind the Wheel blog for more looks at how
TI DLP technology can enhance the driving experience of the future.
And to get a closer look at one of our DLP-powered prototype HUDs,
be sure to check out the video below!
Viewability - this is the bottom line in terms of user experience. If you
can’t see the HUD image it doesn’t matter how big it is. In many of
the current HUD systems, the image will disappear when the driver
Remember, you can get answers to your DLP questions in the DLP &
MEMs Forum at the TI E2E Community.
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view video
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Redefining the driving experience one lane at a time
by Gaurav Agarwal, ADAS Processor Marketing Manager
In 2010, there were 1.2 million global traffic deaths1. Each year in
the US alone there are six million car accidents costing $160 billion.
Automobile accidents continue to rank as the leading cause of death
for individuals between the ages of four to 342, with 93 percent of
traffic accidents occur due to human error, most frequently because of
TI’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) application processor
team is working to develop new technologies to reduce the number
of accidents and an autonomous driving experience by leveraging
innovative semiconductor devices. Autonomous systems can reduce
the number of collisions due to increased reliability and faster reaction
time compared to human drivers.
your steering wheel keeping the car centered in the lane without any
intervention from the driver. Pedestrian detection, front and rear collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot assist are other
examples of ADAS applications that are currently on the road today.
The systems that empower ADAS algorithms have high performance,
integration and low power requirements.
TI’s new TDA2x SoC family of devices, complete with a heterogeneous scalable architecture, provides the optimal solution. The
custom Vision AccelerationPac leverages the purpose built Embedded
Vision Engines (EVEs), working in tandem with industry leading
DSP and ARM® cores. Each Embedded Vision Engine in the Vision
AccelerationPac can provide more than 8x compute performance at
the same power budget for advanced vision analytics in a more costeffective footprint, bringing to life the broadest and most advanced
portfolio of ADAS applications.
A range of applications in the ADAS space
(Front camera, Surround View and Sensor
Fusion) are now possible on a common
architecture enabling scalability, faster
time to market and a lower investment
level since multiple applications can share
common algorithms. For Front Camera,
more than 5 ADAS applications can be
supported simultaneously at less than 3W.
Both the LVDS and Ethernet based multicamera 3D park assist systems are enabled
by multiple flexible video input and output
ports, video decode along with Ethernet
AVB and a powerful graphics engine to add
a virtual view of the vehicle surroundings.
For Fusion, TDA2x SoC serves as a central
processor of pre-processed data from
multiple ADAS sensors for more robust
decision making. One example is fusion of
front camera and front LR radar.
With the sophisticated technologies that
TDA2x SoC will empower, enjoy the new
and re-defined driving experience that is
coming your way!
ADAS functions include camera and radar sensors in the front, sides
and rear of vehicles, to providing additional “eyes” and “ears” in order
for the car to “sense” the world around it. This raw data collected from
the sensors are then processed by sophisticated algorithms to provide
meaningful information to the driver through a multitude of warnings.
This allows the driver to react, or in more advanced systems, take
control of the vehicle’s steering and/or braking to autonomously avoid
the accident.
Remember you can get answers to automotive applications questions
on the Automotive Applications Forum at the TI E2E Community.
At a high level, these applications fall into one of the following
categories: front camera, park assist, radar and sensor fusion. Lane
Departure Warning (LDW) is one of the applications facilitated by
ADAS front camera technology. It provides a warning if your car
begins drifting out a lane unintentionally. Lane keep assist is an
advanced version of LDW that automatically puts a torque overlay on
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Texas Instruments
Saving lives one eCall at a time
by Arthi Krishnamurthy, Automotive Audio Marketing & Applications Manager
With more and more vehicles on the road comes a greater potential
for accidents. Technology designed for in-vehicle safety (i.e. back-up
cameras, crash avoidance systems) offers significant preventative
measures but accidents do – and will – still happen. That’s where
technology such as eCall (emergency call) comes on the scene.
A vehicle equipped with an eCall module (or eCall system) can enable
automatic transmission of GPS coordinates of the vehicle/driver in
case of an emergency like a car accident. It will also allow the driver
and/or passengers to contact an emergency service center to ask
for help (such as medical assistance) and communicate other critical
information. This system operates off a backup battery system so it
can function even if the accident destroys the car battery.
This infogram from Europe’s largest automobile club ADAD
(Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club) shows how a motorist can
benefit from an eCall-equipped vehicle.
In an effort to increase road safety and vastly improve emergency
response time, Europe and Russia plan to implement regulation to
mandate eCall by 2015 and 2014 respectively. This means every car
(light passenger vehicle) from MY14 and MY15 will need eCall system.
All car makers (OEMs) selling in these regions will need to abide by
this law. Some estimate that older car models may be retro-fitted with
after-market versions as opposed to an OEM installing them to comply
with the proposed new regulation.
As with any efforts at standardization, there are always challenges.
The EU Commission would like to regulate eCall for all countries in the
European Union. As you can imagine, the diversity of mobile/3G/4G
networks, carriers, government organizations, car makers, and emergency service centers across multiple countries makes regulation
difficult. The good news is that discussions are ongoing.
GM’s OnStar service, for instance, is a roadside assistance service
that the vehicle owner pays for. Installation of the OnStar module is
normally within the rear view mirror. A satellite connects the module
to a GM service center. It offers the driver services like navigation,
recommendations on nearby places of interest and assistance in case
of an accident or vehicle malfunction. Other luxury car-makers like
BMW, Volvo, PSA also offer similar emergency assistance systems on
their vehicles.. An eCall-standard implementation could replace the
emergency assistance function of these proprietary systems.
TI offers a complete reference design comprised of AEC-Q100qualified analog ICs and embedded processing components. This
reference design features theTAS5421-Q1, TI’s mono Class D audio
amplifier with automotive load dump protection and full I2C diagnostics, the TPS43330-Q1, low Iq, single boost, dual synchronous buck
controller It is scalable for other automotive applications, as well, such
as telematics, stolen vehicle tracking andEV sound generation. It also
incorporates the TPS7A1601-Q1 voltage regulator with low quiescent
current and the MSP430F2232 16-bit ultra-low power microcontroller.
You can download the reference design HERE, and learn more about
TI’s eCall solutions.
According to the Transport Research Library’s 2011 research, implementing eCall could potentially result in a 40 percent improvement in
response time in urban areas and a 50 percent improvement in rural
areas. In a European Commissions’ study titled “Impact Assessment
of EU wide eCall implementation,” a comparison of in-vehicle safety
technologies showed that eCall ranked just after Electronic Stability
Control (ECS). (see table).
Related resources
• Search for answers to your automotive questions in the
Automotive Applications forum.
• Learn more about TI’s automotive eCall and telematics technology
by watching the demonstration video here.
Remember you can get answers to automotive applications questions
on the Automotive Applications Forum at the TI E2E Community.
Click Image to Enlarge
Texas Instruments
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Future Cars – Not So Far Away!
by Rick Zarr, TI Technologist
I must confess… I am a car buff. But I’m not into just any cars. I
prefer cars that are technologically advanced. I’ve been fascinated
by advancements in transportation since I was a kid (see one of my
previous posts “It’s Almost 2010… Where’s My Flying Car.” However,
with advancements in semiconductor technology, many of the capabilities of those spectacular futuristic vehicles are not so far away! In
fact, many are already here with more coming in the next few model
There are three major areas driving this (no pun intended) – first, is
safety. Statistically, the more vehicles you place on a highway, the
higher the odds of being involved in a traffic incident. Traditionally
passive safety was the answer. Examples include seat belts, crumple
zones, side beams, reinforced passenger compartments and more.
If you’re anything like me, you’d rather never require passive safety if
you can avoid it… but it’s nice to know the technology is there when
everything else fails. Better yet, I’d rather employ active safety, or the
ability of the car to help me avoid an accident.
Last but seriously not least is the cockpit… this is where the WOW
factor comes in. I’m waiting for the arrival of the virtual soft dashboard – a high definition display that loses the mechanical dials and
provides information in the most appealing (and least distracting) way.
It will include touch with feedback (see the DRV2605 or DRV2667
haptic drivers) or use gesture recognition to limit the driver’s distractions. Information can be dynamic and change with the conditions of
the road or traffic.
Recently, active safety is expanding beyond anti-lock brakes (which
can now be done with a single device such as the TPIC7218-Q1) to
include auto braking, active radar for collision avoidance and adaptive
cruise control. This is all done through advanced signal processing
(which TI pioneered) and high levels of integration found in devices
such as the TPS65310A-Q1, which is designed to power DSPs in
harsh automotive environments.
Yes, my flying car is bit farther in the future, but the technologies to
enhance safety, convenience and driver assistance… or just plain fun
are right around the corner. So if you think future cars were just from
the minds of Syd Mead and other visionaries, just wander down to
your local dealer and take a peek at the future! Till next time…
Beyond safety there is convenience and driver assistance – the things
that make driving easier. For example, the wheels of my personal
car have suffered the indignity of curb rash from my inability to see
where the car was in relationship to the parking space. Having 360
degree cameras (that interface to the electronic control unit through
the DS90UB913Q/4Q-Q1) along with puddle cameras that look down
alongside the car would have saved me the sanding and repainting
Remember, you can get answers to your Automotive power
supply questions in the Power Management Forums at the TI E2E
Another method is to use ultrasonic sensors to detect curbs, other
cars, as well as surrounding objects – again, devices such as the
PGA450-Q1 integrate most of the sensor conditioning functionality.
This can enable other cool technologies such as self-parking cars,
which would completely save me (and my wheels) from my lack of
parallel parking ability.
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Texas Instruments
Powering the Car of the Future
by Chris Glaser, TI Applications Engineer
Wow! What a cool car! If you missed it, check out the future here.
It’s pretty amazing to even think that such a fun, functional, safe,
and green automobile is even possible but it is! However, with
all those new and exciting features comes the design engineer’s
headache—system planning and integration. How does he or she
efficiently fit all these extra functions into the same space?
Luckily, there are dedicated and highly integrated power management devices that address at least part of the headache. Let’s
check out my two favorite features—wireless charging and
enhanced driver awareness—and see the power management
solutions available.
As smartphones continue to grow in popularity, wireless charging
will soon become a must-have feature in the modern automobile. And, with more and more phone manufacturers integrating
Qi-compliant receiver devices into their phones, wirelessly charging your phone in your car can become a reality. To do this requires
a safe and efficient Qi-compliaant wireless charging transmitter
built into the car. The bq500410A supports the latest WPC1.1
specification, which includes foreign object detection (FOD) and
parasitic metal object detection (PMOD). But apart from these
necessary safety features in its charging scheme, it also allows
for a much wider range of receiver coil placement relative to the
transmitter coil. What this means is that you can literally put your
phone ‘near’ the charging coil instead of ‘exactly on’ the charging coil as with previous generations of wireless chargers. So, the
driver can plop their phone (or purse!) down in the cup holder and
charge their phone. How easy is that!
While the convenience of wireless charging is nice, vehicle safety
is more important. Enhanced driver awareness is the foundation
of a safer vehicle. If a driver is better aware of what is going on
with his or her car and the road he or she is on, better decisions
can be made and fewer accidents could occur.
Enhanced driver awareness incorporates multiple sensors to
detect a variety of conditions, such as: blind spots (including back
up cameras), lane departure, night vision, etc. All of these sensors
require power and, in most cases, a different voltage is required
for each one. An integrated power supply device is needed to
shrink the solution size required to support these sensors in an
automotive application. Enter the TPS65310A-Q1. It is automotive qualified and supports a solution that can withstand 80-V
transients—commonly found in harsh automotive environments.
Furthermore, it integrates 5 dc/dc converters to solve most or
possibly all power supply demands. It is sure to ease a system
integration headache.
Advancements such as wireless charging and enhanced driver
awareness are the future of automobiles and are definitely coming.
Just look at how many cars have back up cameras these days—
over 77% this year! The question is simply: which feature(s) will
come first and how long will it take until the Car of the Future is a
reality? Only time will answer this question, but these automotive
power solutions are sure to help speed it along.
Texas Instruments
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Driving High-Speed Data Against the Traffic – Part 1
by Andy McLean, Marketing and Applications Manager, Signal and Data
Path Solutions
Click Image to Enlarge
Vision-based safety systems are becoming nearly ubiquitous in
automobiles. Multiple high-definition displays are appearing in
the center console, rear seatbacks, and the instrument cluster for
both information and entertainment purposes. Car manufacturers
are also increasingly deploying cameras to increase safety and for
driver assist applications, such as improved visibility for backup
and parking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) has proposed new vehicle safety regulations calling for
standard rear-mounted video cameras and displays in all vehicles by the year 2014. The regulation is aimed at reducing the
hundreds of fatalities and thousands of injuries that occur each
year as a result of back-over accidents. While unquestionably
increasing safety and adding to the driving experience, the addition of all these cameras also raises new challenges for automotive system designers.
Transmitting High-Speed Video Links
A dedicated high-speed video link connects each display or
camera in a vehicle to a control (head-end) unit. In the simplest
case, a single coaxial wire is used to display an NTSC (CVBS)
signal from a back-up camera on a display in the center console.
However, the trend is clearly to improve image clarity and quality
with mega-pixel digital cameras displayed on high-resolution LCD
Interconnect savings are also realized by deploying smaller
connectors and cables to reduce system size and weight—both
critical features in automobile applications. As shown in Figure 1,
a serializer receives data from a video source, such as a camera’s
image sensor, then converts the wide parallel bus of RGB color
and control signals to an LVDS serialized stream transported
over a single, twisted wire pair cable. A companion deserializer at
the other end of the cable expands the video signals back into a
parallel interface for connection to a display or head unit.
The FPD-Link III serializer/deserializer product family from TI offers
a number of advanced features that address the challenges of
high-speed system design. A single serial data stream transmitted
over a single differential pair avoids data skew issues. The devices
encode serial data to contain an embedded clock that they can
recover without the need for a reference clock which allows
for rapid initialization of the connection without special training
sequences. Carefully randomized and scrambled video data minimizes electromagnetic interference (EMI), and is DC-balanced to
allow signal transmission and recovery over long lengths (10m+)
of twisted pair cables, or a single coaxial cable. These measures
help reduce EMI which is particularly critical in automotive environments with strict standards for electromagnetic conformance
(EMC). You can learn more about the Ser/Des chipsets here.
In Part 2, we will explore the different approaches to implementing control channels available to control data traveling against the
direction of video data flow.
Remember you can get answers to automotive applications
questions on the Automotive Applications Forum at the TI E2E
High-speed serial digital links connect the video components,
providing a seamless connection from the digital imagers used in
cameras to a digital LCD display. The most common and reliable
high-speed digital interface technology deployed for automotive video links is based on the ANSI/TIA/EIA-644-A Low Voltage
Differential Signaling (LVDS) standard. LVDS provides a robust
data transmission standard capable of long distances, low power,
high noise rejection, and low EMI. Instead of a single-ended signal
referenced to ground, LVDS uses a differential scheme to enable
the desired attributes of the link.
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Texas Instruments
Driving High-Speed Data Against the Traffic – Part 2
by Andy McLean, Marketing and Applications Manager, Signal and Data
Path Solutions
In Part 1, we addressed some of the design challenges for
automotive system designers when implementing vision-based
safety systems. In this segment, we’ll take a closer look at
options to driving control data against video channel data.
As the number of displays, cameras, and sensors used in vehicles
multiplies, so do the number of connections required between
these modules and head units. Each cable added to a wiring
harness increases both cost and weight and impacts production
assembly cost and reliability concerns. Less obvious, however, is
the increased number of data connections required to control and
update the cameras and displays as the number of video links
grows. During initialization and operation, for example, the head
unit often sends control settings to the camera. A central controller based on driver settings or sensors in the cabin can automatically adjust brightness and back lighting settings.
Newer display technologies, such as LCD, have retained the
blanking periods although they are no longer truly necessary.
Figure 1 shows a scheme that uses video blanking periods to
send control information, however, the amount of data transmitted is limited to the length and frequency of the blanking period.
This is especially limiting if the system supporting a typical frame
rate of 30Hz uses only the vertical blanking period. There is also a
trend in the industry to diminish significantly this wasted overhead
as it has a direct impact on both power consumption and pixel
clock rate.
A further disadvantage of this approach is that the control data
must be queued for transmission. The resulting delay introduces
a non-deterministic latency that can be unacceptable for many
applications, such as collision avoidance systems where response
times of micro-seconds are required. This is also restrictive for
applications where the precise timing of the control data has
relevance. Attempting to synchronize multi-camera systems using
this approach, for example, would be a challenge.
Another example is with touchscreen displays where the position
or multi-touch information needs to be sent back to the central
unit. The key point is that control data is travelling against the
direction of the video data flow.
To implement such a control channel, the standard approach is
to run separate control wires in parallel to the video link—from
camera to head unit—or from head unit to display. The design
challenge is how to make more efficient use of existing wires and
connectors for the video, control, and data signals.
Imagine for a moment driving against the flow of traffic on a
highway without colliding with oncoming vehicles. This isn’t a
suggested application for collision avoidance systems, but it is
analogous to the challenge of providing a control path that flows
in the opposite direction of the main high-speed video data. As
previously noted, the ideal solution would also provide this control
channel using only existing wiring and can, in fact, be implemented in a number of ways.
Displays tend to use the video blanking period inherited from the
old CRT days to send non-video data. CRT displays required
blanking periods added at the end of every active video line and
field to allow for the ‘fly-back’ time of the beam. Over the years,
creative video system designers have used the blanking interval
to transmit information such as closed captioning text or video
timecode information.
Figure 2 Control channel implemented using common-mode modulation of
video data
Another approach, shown in Figure 2, makes use of the differential
nature of the signal used for the primary video channel. Control
data can effectively be coupled into the cable as a commonmode modulation of the digitized video signal; however, this presents a fundamental EMI issue. Automotive applications enforce
very strict EMC standards to avoid interference between electronic subsystems. Remember all the good work to minimize EMI
by avoiding any residual common-mode signal using differential
signaling together with randomizing, scrambling, and DC balancing of data? A common-mode signal intentionally introduced as a
means to transfer control data will largely negate that good work.
This approach, then, is clearly another dead end street.
The FPD-Link III Ser/Des chipsets from TI overcome the limitations of such alternative schemes with an entirely different
approach. FPD-Link III technology simultaneously transfers both
high-speed video data and control data over a single pair of
wires, or single coaxial cable. A bidirectional control channel runs
continuously while video and audio data are being transmitted.
Receivers in the serializer and deserializer are able to separate the
forward (Tx to Rx) channel data from lower speed data travelling
in the reverse direction (Rx to Tx.) This is possible based on the
correlation of the data being transmitted and the compound. You
can learn more about the Ser/Des chipsets here.
Figure 1. Control Channel implemented during video banking
Texas Instruments
Remember you can get answers to automotive applications
questions on the Automotive Applications Forum at the TI E2E
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Top Technical Articles by Top TI experts
Texas Instruments engineering experts are also frequent contributors to a variety of electronics engineering publications. Included here are some of the TI-authored technical articles that
appeared in these publications in 2013.
“Automotive communications demand a robust infrastructure”
by Rick Zarr, ElectronicDesign.com, March 22, 2013.
Abstract: Today’s automobiles use up to a hundred microprocessors that control every
aspect of their performance. Large amounts of data must be moved over inexpensive wire in
a harsh environment, presenting many challenges.
“Improving peak current-mode control”
by Terry Allinder, EEtimes.com, May, 9, 2013.
Abstract: A flyback converter is designed to operate over a specified input voltage range, with
a given output voltage and maximum output current. The worst-case design normally is done
at the minimum input voltage and maximum output power. In the real world the maximum
power delivered at high input line may double that of the power delivered at the minimum
input line voltage. This forces power-supply designers to over design the power stage. This
article discusses the reason for the increased input power increase and methods to reduce it.
It also shows a novel method to improve the performance of peak current-mode control.
“Boost power converters finally get some respect”
by Bob Bell and Eric Lee, How2PowerToday.com, June 201
Abstract: Boost power converters have long been the less popular, less respected topology as compared to buck converters. Over the years, IC vendors have continuously developed newer, faster, more-feature-rich buck controllers and regulators. Meanwhile, controller
choices for boost power converters have remained limited. Recently, new boost applications,
such as automotive start-stop, have emerged. These applications require higher efficiency,
higher power density, and novel protection features that are unavailable with existing boost
controllers. New boost controller ICs are now available with features such as fully synchronous operation and interleaved multiphase capability along with robust protection options.
This article presents single- and dual-phase synchronous boost power converter designs
based on a recently introduced boost controller, the LM5122. The operation of these converter circuits and the unique features offered by the controller—features not previously available in a boost controller—are discussed here. Measured results for efficiency and simulated
results for output current ripple are also presented, demonstrating the benefits of synchronous rectification and interleaved, multiphase operation in boost applications.
“Comparing Ethernet and SerDes in ADAS applications”
by Dave Lewis, John Day Automotive Electronics, July 3, 2013.
Abstract: Single-pair Ethernet is currently being deployed in automobiles over unshielded
twisted pair (UTP) cable. Ethernet shows great promise as an in-vehicle networking technology for the connected car due to its ubiquity, tools, modularity, and IP support.
Although some infotainment display and camera-based advanced driver assistance system
(ADAS) applications have introduced Ethernet to prove the technology, serializer/deserializer
(SerDes) architectures (sometimes incorrectly called LVDS) typically are simpler, offer higher
video quality, and are less expensive in these systems.
Let’s compare these two technologies in detail using a four-camera surround view application
as an example.
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Texas Instruments
Top Technical Articles by Top TI experts
“Switcher peak current-mode control circuit optimization for automotive applications”
by Mahmoud Harmouch and Tobias Nass, EDN. com, August 14, 2013.
Abstract: Switching above 1.7 MHz to avoid AM band interference, and fast load transient response,
are now constant pressures in switch-mode power supplies used in automotive infotainment
systems. Today’s multicore processors and system-on-a-chip (SOC) require core voltages, even
below 1V, to be tightly regulated from an intermediate voltage of 2.5V to 6V. At the same time, power
supply designers target high-switching frequencies, compact solutions and fast transient responses.
This article studies design optimization in depth for peak current-mode control loops. This step-bystep design considers parametric variation, parasitic elements, as well as typical automotive requirements. A family of synchronous buck converter devices is used to demonstrate optimization.
“Making cars safer through technology innovation”
by Roman Staszewski and Hannes Estl
Abstract: Hopes for fully autonomous vehicles remained out of reach until recently, when the availability of new electronic technologies suddenly turned the fantasies of the past into present-day
realities. Today, there is extensive work on assisted driving by major auto makers worldwide, and the
semiconductor innovations enabling them. Numerous developments are rapidly changing car design,
providing an evolution in automotive control that will put semi-autonomous, then fully- autonomous
vehicles on the roads in just a few years. Semi-autonomous and fully-autonomous vehicle control,
based on advanced electronic sensing and processing, are valuable for more than just the excitement that comes with a technological break­through. They will deliver real benefits in fuel savings,
mobility and convenience, travel time, and the efficient use of roadways. Most important, however,
are new forms of vehicle control that will work actively to promote safety. This white paper explores
the advances in analog and embedded processing around advanced driver assistance that is paving
the way towards autonomous vehicle operation.
Editor’s note:
Most of the content in this eBook appeared on the TI E2E Community blogs in 2013 and primarily in our automotive-focused blog,
Behind the Wheel.
E2E is the Texas Instruments online technical support community where you can search for solutions, get help, share knowledge,
and solve problems with fellow engineers and TI experts.
There are currently over 20 blogs on E2E with over 200+ blog experts sharing their views on industry news, trends, and hot topics in
application and product areas such as automotive, microcontrollers, smart grid, medical, power management, embedded processing,
low power RF & wireless connectivity, and many more.
Check out all E2E blogs listed here:
Analog Wire
Analog: the real world
Around TI
Behind the Wheel
ConnecTIng Wirelessly
Energy Zarr
Fully Charged
Learn E2E
Make the Switch to TI MCUs
Motor Drive & Control
Multicore Mix
On Board with Bonnie
On the fringe
On the Grid
Driving the Future: TI’s Automotive Perspectives 2013
Power House
The Official MSP430 Blog
TI [email protected]
TI Precision Designs Hub
TI Social
Tools Insider
University Program
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