Spansion beefs up flash memory roster for auto systems
The devices introduced on Thursday address a soaring demand among OEMs for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and more elaborate infotainment and centre stack systems.
Robin Jigour, senior vice president of Spansion's flash memory group, told us the new Serial NOR flash devices in 16Mbit, 32Mbit, and 64Mbit densities are qualified for temperatures of -40 to 125°C, achieving AEC-Q100 qualification and meeting production part approval process (PPAP) requirements.
Achieving temperature tolerance as high as 125°C is a particularly notable feat, he said. "There are others who also claim a similar extended high temperature, but typically, they have not passed all the qualification processes like ours did."
Spansion is also rolling out automotive-grade Spansion ML-G1 NAND flash memories qualified for -40°C to 105°C in 1Gbit, 2Gbit, and 4Gbit densities.
Flash memories for ADAS cameras
Anthony Lee, director of segment marketing at Spansion, told us NOR flash memory devices are typically used for automotive systems that require high reliability, high quality, long durability, and secure stability. These include ADAS and instrument clusters.
For example, consider a system where multiple ADAS cameras are mounted on a vehicle. Because these cameras are mounted outside the car, they are subject to wide temperature fluctuations. The memory devices, together with a processor and a sensor, are encased in a module that tends to heat up. Worse, "there is no fan inside the module," Lee said. All these factors make it imperative for NOR flash memory devices to be essentially immune to temperature variations.
By contrast, the key applications of NAND flash memory devices inside cars involve infotainment, centre stack, and car navigation. Generally speaking, the requirement of such applications is focused on "better cost per density," rather than absolute robustness, Lee said.
Today, Spansion says, it holds a share of more than 50 per cent of the NOR flash segment in the automotive market.
Jigour said the company is committed to meeting the automotive industry's needs. In February, it unveiled the HyberBus interface for embedded systems, such as automotive instrument clusters, that demand "instant-on" and an "interactive graphical user interface." When asked about the market, Spansion cited a groundswell of demand among car OEMs, Tier 1s, and automotive chip suppliers.
Spansion's HyperFlash NOR memory is designed to withstand temperatures from -40°C to 125°C. HyperFlash NOR memory's use for infotainment, navigation, and ADAS doesn't mean that it's replacing NAND flash in such systems, the company said, but it does facilitate a system design using less DRAM.
Jigour said that, together with HyperBus, Spansion is expanding its flash memory portfolio for the automotive market. The new auto-grade Serial NOR and NAND memory devices are already available in volume.
- Junko Yoshida
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