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Automotive Semiconductor Safety

Automotive Semiconductor Safety
by Daniel Nenni on 11-05-2016 at 7:00 am

One of the more telling trends in the semiconductor industry is the “fabless systems companies” transformation. Systems companies that used to buy chips are now making their own to better control the system they are designing: from the chip, package, PCB, the complete system. Apple is the best example as they are now one of the most influential fabless semiconductor companies. Tesla is another example of disruption in the automotive industry, which brings up another very important trend and that is semiconductor safety.


Last month at ARM TechCon, Cadence came out in support of Automotive Design for Safety with the industry’s first comprehensive Tool Confidence Level 1 (TCL1) documentation that is compliant with the automotive ISO 26262 standard. Cadence also has more than 30 tools that will contribute to an ISO 26262 compliant development lifecycle which is the broadest EDA tool offering for the automotive industry, absolutely.

“Proven safety compliance along with a complete design and verification tool flow is a requirement for Infineon so that we can deliver our AURIX microcontroller designs to the market on time and ensure that they meet the safety standards the automotive market demands,” said Dr. Joerg Schepers, senior director, Microcontrollers Powertrain at Infineon Technologies AG. “Cadence’s work with TÜV SÜD provides us with added confidence because its software tools have been properly assessed to support the ISO 26262 standard.”

Before the conference, I had an interesting discussion about automotive trends and the impact on the semiconductor ecosystem with Rob Knoth, Product Management Director of Digital and Signoff Group, and Randal Childers, Director of Corporate Quality at Cadence. Design for Safety was the focus of the discussion so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the DFS acronym coming about.

Bottom line:
Cars are much more complicated than smartphones or even data centers with huge communications components. As we move towards advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), design complexity is increasing exponentially so qualifying point tools will not be enough.

The Cadence announcement is not only the first comprehensive TCL1 documentation, offering the broadest tool support for the ISO 26262 standard, Cadence is also offering both digital and custom design and verification flows followed by a digital implementation and signoff flow expected to be completed by the end of this year.

You can see the Cadence ISO 26262 Compliance page HERE, but first take a quick look at this automotive video which talks about the “Systems of Systems”, it is definitely worth two minutes of your time. Cadence is promoting a holistic system design approach here which encompasses chip, package, and board.

Attached below is the announcement slide deck which is worth a glance. According to industry analysts, automotive semiconductors will be the fastest growing segment through 2020 which I believe. In looking at SemiWiki analytics, automotive is also a fast growing segment second only to IoT.


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