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Meeting IP requirements of ADAS SoCs

Posted: 18 Sep 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Advanced Driver Assistance Systems  ADAS  SoCs  application processor  LPDDR4 

In addition to the IP functions designers must take into consideration for ADAS SoCs, automotive Tier 1s and semiconductor SoC designers and architects need to consider the latency, power, reliability, and process-related design challenges.

Low latency is an essential criterion to meet real-time multimedia class-of-service guarantees.

In addition to low latency, the SoCs need to minimise power dissipation while adopting the latest multimedia protocols and key features, such as embedded vision processing, required for specific ADAS applications such as pedestrian detection and correction.

Another key challenge for ADAS SoC designers is ensuring the high reliability and continuous operation that automotive OEMs require, so the chips need to implement key ECC and parity techniques.

Due to the high performance and integration levels required, designers are targeting advanced semiconductor processes such as 16/14nm (nm) FinFET process nodes which can be unfamiliar to many design teams.

Addressing the SoC challenges for low latency, low power, advanced protocols, ECC, and availability of mission critical IP for 16/14-nm FinFET are key issues for next-generation SoCs for automotive ADAS applications.

IP for functional safety, reliability, and quality management
An extensive IP portfolio supporting the latest protocols and algorithms in leading foundry processes provides the foundation for next-generation ADAS SoC development.

In addition to providing the advanced features, small area, high performance and low power required by ADAS applications, IP suppliers must meet the stringent demands of the automotive supply chain.

Although SoCs in high-performance consumer and mobile applications contain similar functions as ADAS SoCs, the additional robustness, reliability and safety requirements of automotive SoCs place additional requirement on IP suppliers.

For example, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturer's Association (ZVEI) Working Group for Consumer Components for Automotive Applications has identified 66 possible differences between automotive semiconductors and consumer components, including functional safety, reliability, and quality management.

The working group's position paper identifies the impact to silicon and silicon IP due to harsh automotive environment issues such as higher voltages, higher electrostatic discharge (ESD), higher temperatures, error correction and higher test coverage targets. The working group concludes that the "collaboration between car OEMs,

Tier 1's and component suppliers during development needs to be reassessed and redefined to identify and mitigate those new risks along the value chain."[2]

The ZVEI position paper highlights two key requirements.

First, functional safety is a key requirement for ADAS applications such as pedestrian detection and correction.

Second, ADAS applications must meet the ISO 26262 Functional Safety standard defined by the automotive industry. Using IP that has been certified according to ISO 26262 will help SoC designers mitigate value chain risk and accelerate the requirements specification, design, implementation, integration, verification, validation and configuration of their SoC level functional safety.

Similarly, to meet high reliability requirements, automotive SoCs must meet the AEC Q100 specification as part of production qualification for automotive applications. Designers can help ensure successful AEC Q100 qualification by selecting IP that has been tested and characterized against AEC Q100 requirements.

By using semiconductor IP that has been pre-tested according to AEC Q100 stress tests, designers can reduce risk and accelerate their SoC qualification.

Finally, by selecting an IP supplier who develops IP according to the ISO/TS 16949 quality standard helps ensure that product planning, design, development, verification and validation of automotive SoCs, including the integrated IP, meet the quality levels required by automotive supply chain.

IP providers such as Synopsys with an extensive IP portfolio for high-performance vision-based ADAS applications have taken the next step to meet the automotive SoC requirements for standards-based functional safety, reliability and quality.

ISO 26262 for functional safety
From an automotive perspective, the ISO 26262 functional safety standard, which was released in 2011, is relatively new.

The standard applies to functional safety in electrical and/or electronic systems within road vehicles. It addresses all activities of the safety lifecycle such as design and development of safety-related systems and includes SoCs that are classified as Safety-Elements-out-of-Context (SEooC).

ISO 26262 provides an automotive-specific approach to determine Automotive Safety Integrity Levels (ASIL) and specifies measures to validate and confirm that the safety levels are achieved.

The goal is to minimise susceptibility to random hardware failures by defining functional requirements, applying rigor to the development process and taking the necessary design measures including fault injection and systemic analysis and metrics reporting. As ISO 26262 cannot be retrofitted to a device,

IP providers must institute a safety culture with policies, processes, strategies and empowered safety managers involved with safety critical IP development.

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