Within the same package, derivatives with different performance levels offer high scalability and flexibility. For example, all TC3xx families are available in the popular BGA-292 package, allowing the designer to scale performance higher and lower depending on the resource needs of the program. High pin-to-pin package compatibility and complete software compatibility is ensured across the entire TC3xx family.
The proven AURIX safety concept has been retained in principle. Safety features from the TC2xx family can thus be reused, and the additional LBIST/MBIST hardware features in the TC3xx family eliminate the need for safety software – different safety mechanisms can now be exercised through hardware built-in self-tests.
Computing performance has been increased with the introduction of the new TriCore generation (1.62) with new instructions, up to six CPUs running at 300 MHz, as well as reduced latencies with direct path for flash access. On the memory side, not only have capacities been increased, but the MPU (memory protection unit) has also been further improved.
The TC3xx family incorporates various high-performance AD converters. Four types of converters are integrated: primary SAR (12 bit), secondary SAR (12 bit), fast compare (10 bit) and delta sigma. The converters offer conversion rates from 1 to 40 MSamples/s.
The optimized ADAS functionality of the AURIX TC3xx family benefits radar systems in particular (Fig. 4): from blind spot detection to front and corner radar systems. The TC3xx offers the previously mentioned radar processing unit with up to two signal processing units (SPUs), which support the highest safety requirements. The SPUs run at a clock frequency of 300 MHz and enable the calculation of the latest radar algorithms on a single chip with very low power consumption compared to conventional GPUs/DSPs. HF radar chips can be connected directly via the high-speed digital radar interface.
Fig. 4:The new AURIX generation enables many high-performance applications in the vehicle. For example, a complete chipset for 77 GHz radar is available.
The improved HSM cryptographic capability makes on-board communication more secure and renders hardware manipulation more difficult. It integrates new functions to support asymmetrical encryption mechanisms according to EVITA “full” requirements.
As host controllers in gateway and telematics applications, the AURIX TC3xx controllers support the latest communication interfaces. This includes up to two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, up to 20 CAN-FD channels according to ISO 11898-1, and up to 24 LIN channels. An additional eMMC interface for an external flash interface enables local data storage for software update over the air (SOTA) architectures.
Infineon is also one of the first providers of a multicore architecture with Autosar 4.x. For this purpose, MCAL drivers (up to ASIL-D level) are offered according to the CMM3 level and ASPICE level (up to 1).
Safe and highly available
The trend towards ever more sophisticated driver assistance systems and higher levels of vehicle automation poses new challenges to the robustness, availability, and functional safety of the systems used. The electronic systems must maintain their functions even in the event of a fault (fail-operational). ISO26262 is the accepted safety standard for vehicle electronics.
High availability plays an essential role in fail-operational systems. Infineon has developed a chip-set architecture that combines a microcontroller with a support safety device (TLF35584/TLF30684) – in this case a safe power supply. The combination of safety supply device and AURIX microcontroller enables fail-operational systems with high availability. The advantages of the SMU come into play in particular with this approach. The SMU serves as the central collection point for all safety-critical alarms. Since such error handling should not be carried out on a potentially faulty unit (i.e. processing core), the SMU is designed as an independent unit. Using SMU, the internal and external reactions for each error source (interrupt, NMI, CPU core reset, CPU core idle, SOC reset, fault signal protocol) can be configured individually.
All AURIX microcontrollers utilize the same concept for functional safety and use advanced protection mechanisms including, and not limited to, locksteps, ECC (Error Correction Code) protected memory, and the SMU mentioned above. Lockstep technology uses two cores in a self-test configuration. The same software thread runs on both cores, and the output of the two cores is compared with each other to detect errors. High functional safety is achieved with such extensive internal monitoring safety mechanisms implemented in hardware.
With the optimized architecture of the new AURIX generation, availability is further improved by increasing the independence between the cores. Each core can now be separately set to reset, run, or idle status. This means that a safety mechanism can perform a reset on one or more cores, while the other cores continue to run normally.
In addition, SafeTpack offered by Hitex is a comprehensive safety solution for the second generation of the AURIX microcontroller family, which considerably shortens the safety implementation. The complex LBIST functionality and other safety features of AURIX are managed by SafeTpack, which also provides additional safety functions such as program flow monitoring and cyclic control of peripheral devices. SafeTpack likewise coordinates the execution of start-up and cycle tests that ensure correct operation of the CPU and internal buses.
Today’s vehicle architectures, including those of autonomous driving, require faster yet highly secure connectivity and communication between critical control units, such as the central drive computer and the steering or braking system. Against this background, the communication and security functions have been further improved in the new AURIX generation. For instance, the controllers offer interfaces for CAN FD, Flexray, and optionally Gigabit Ethernet. The HSM (Fig. 5) enables both symmetric and asymmetric encryption according to ECC256 and SHA256, message authentication between different ECUs, and secure booting to protect against malware. The HSM is based on a 32-bit ARM CPU and is separated from the rest of the AURIX chip by a firewall. The HSM creates a trusted execution environment, makes on-board communication more secure, and renders hardware manipulations, such as motor tuning, more difficult. In addition, the TC3xx microcontrollers support efficient and secure software updates over air (SOTA) and help prevent software hijacking.
Fig. 5:An enhanced hardware security module (HSM) ensures the highest level of cyber security.
Also ideal for industrial applications
AURIX microcontrollers were originally designed for the needs of the automotive industry in which they are widely used. The TriCore architecture combines the advantages of a microcontroller, a RISC core, and a DSP on one chip. This combination offers clear advantages when it comes to high-performance control. Also important for the industry is the long-term availability and zero-defect quality. Furthermore, the AURIX architecture, with its high functional safety, offers compatibility according to IEC 61508 and the corresponding standards for railway technology (EN 50129), agricultural engineering (ISO 25119), machinery (IEC 62061), etc.
High operating temperatures are also common in many industrial environments. The new generation of AURIX microcontrollers is therefore not only available for the extended temperature range from -40 °C to +125 °C, but also in “hot packages” for up to +150 °C. Among various industrial applications (Fig. 6), this benefits applications such as UPSs (uninterruptible power supplies), PLCs, inverters, and robotics. There is also a cooperation with Xilinx to connect the AURIX to FPGAs via a high-speed interface (HSSL) – for greater system flexibility.
Fig. 6:The scalable TC3xx microcontrollers enable various high-performance and scalable industrial applications, like inverters, for example for wind turbines or solar systems.
Easy to use: Quick and efficient design implementation
A free toolkit is available for software development and testing based on AURIX – the “AURIX Development Studio”
www.infineon.com/aurixdevelopmentstudio. This software tool can be used with all AURIX starter kits and application boards. The toolkit includes an Eclipse-based IDE, a project wizard to define project properties for device and board support, a powerful C compiler, an integrated source-level debugger, and on-chip support for flash programming. Infineon also offers a DSP library that has evolved over the years to meet customer requirements. Additional tools are available for configuration and pin mapping, as well as driver files and free flash loader.
In addition to the software tools, starter and application kits are also available. The starter kits include Arduino compatible boards designed to use any Arduino Shield in combination with the kit. Hardware support ranges from low-cost entry-level kits and demo boards to evaluation boards that support all functions, including extension boards for professional testing and software development. Furthermore, there are many application kits that facilitate a “quick start” for applications such as motor controls, radar, or wireless charging.
In addition, technical questions can be answered quickly and efficiently online in the AURIX forum:
www.infineon.com/aurixforum or on the AURIX website, where many details and training materials can be found. www.infineon.com/aurix
Conclusion and outlook
The new multicore AURIX TC3xx microcontrollers offer optimized solutions for a wide range of automotive and industrial applications, supported by a comprehensive ecosystem. Compatibility with previous generation in the safety concept, hardware, and software – as well as package and resource scalability in terms of cores, memory, and peripherals – enable an efficient upgrade path for existing families and safeguards investments in the software and safety architectures in the future. Yet, the development and innovation does not stop. Accelerator units for AI functionalities are being developed and will be integrated into the controllers in future generations, enabling even more advanced functionality!
– Ralf Ködel, Director Product Marketing Management, Automotive & Industrial Microcontroller at Infineon Technologies