NXP drives au­to­mo­tive mega­trends with smart, con­nected and se­cure sys­tems

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Story by: Gun­jan D. Bi­dani

Com­ing from the times of the Am­bas­sador car run­ning me­chan­i­cally on a side-valve en­gine, we are headed to the fu­ture of con­tex­tu­ally-aware cars with the best-in-class LED ex­pe­ri­ence, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity with touch and feel of lux­ury. The au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is un­der­go­ing an en­tire gen­er­a­tion sweep and the fu­ture prom­ises ev­ery­thing con­nected, se­cure and smart. In con­ver­sa­tion with San­jay Gupta, Vice Pres­i­dent and In­dia Coun­try Man­ager, NXP In­dia, we at Auto Com­po­nents

In­dia de­code the mega­trends of tech­nolo­gies and method­olo­gies which will make our cars se­cure from both hard­ware and soft­ware stand­point. Head­quar­tered in Eind­hoven, the Nether­lands, NXP pro­vides se­cure con­nec­tiv­ity so­lu­tions for em­bed­ded ap­pli­ca­tions for au­to­mated ve­hi­cles. Not go­ing by the tra­di­tional wires, NXP sup­ports the lightweight­ing of ve­hi­cles by us­ing gate­way man­u­fac­tur­ing and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion. About NXP’s ex­per­tise in de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts which with­stand the rig­or­ous tem­per­a­tures, Gupta said, “This is the key strength of NXP. While a typ­i­cal con­sumer chip is de­signed at 100*C, we de­sign our au­to­mo­tive chips at both high and low tem­per­a­tures of 165 de­gree C and -65 de­gree C. So whether you are driv­ing in the Sa­hara desert or An­tar­tica, the en­gine ap­pli­ca­tions won’t stop.” While de­sign­ing, real-life sim­u­la­tions are cre­ated for the chip at the com­put­ing stage un­til it works well even in the most ex­treme con­di­tions. Gupta said, “We sim­u­late the chip to re­sist mud, hu­mid­ity, mois­ture and other sce­nar­ios at the de­sign­ing stage it­self. We freeze the de­sign only if it doesn’t break af­ter try­ing the per­for­mance in all kinds of ut­most sit­u­a­tions. Then it goes for man­u­fac­tur­ing and test­ing.”

On min­i­mal­is­ing power con­sump­tion, Gupta said, “We em­ploy 2 tech­niques: at the ar­chi­tec­ture level and at the fab­ri­cat­ing level. We iso­late the power con­sump­tion (power do­main iso­la­tion) by defin­ing the power lines sep­a­rately, for ex­am­ple, if we know that pow­er­train is us­ing left part of the chip, we en­sure that the right part goes un­used. Then dur­ing the fabri­ca­tion stage, we have neatly run­ning wires on the chip which ac­com­mo­date a lot of stor­age mem­ory on the chip which in re­turn con­trib­utes to sav­ing power.” Forty-five per­cent of NXP’s rev­enue is com­ing from the au­to­mo­tive di­vi­sion while the rest 55 % is through con­sumer elec­tron­ics and net­work­ing.

Vi­sion pro­ces­sor

Made in In­dia, S32V series is NXP’s 2nd gen­er­a­tion vi­sion pro­ces­sor, de­signed to sup­port com­pu­ta­tion-in­ten­sive ap­pli­ca­tions for im­age pro­cess­ing suited for ADAS, NCAP front cam­era, ob­ject de­tec­tion

and recog­ni­tion, sur­round view, ma­chine learn­ing and sen­sor fu­sion ap­pli­ca­tions. En­gi­neered in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Con­ti­nen­tal for au­to­mo­tive-grade re­li­a­bil­ity, func­tional safety and se­cu­rity mea­sures to sup­port ve­hi­cle and in­dus­trial au­to­ma­tion, S32V is cur­rently on the test­ing grounds and the pro­duc­tion is ex­pected to be­gin soon.

Es­tab­lish­ing con­fi­dence in the re­li­a­bil­ity of au­to­mo­tive elec­tron­ics is an is­sue across the in­dus­try. Lack of well-de­fined stan­dards, in­ef­fi­cient data han­dling, and weak sup­ply chain of­ten makes it dif­fi­cult to achieve a zero-fail­ure elec­tron­ics sys­tem. “Typ­i­cally a sys­tem can have two kinds of fail­ures. First, the in­trin­sic fail­ures or func­tional safety is­sues which hap­pen be­cause of in­ef­fi­cient de­sign­ing, con­struc­tion and val­i­da­tion. These are the in­ter­nal haz­ards which can be pre­dicted and di­ag­nosed. Sec­ond and the real prob­lem is when the haz­ard is ex­ter­nal i.e. cy­ber se­cu­rity is­sues which are un­pre­dictable and ran­dom,” Gupta said.

“The first prob­lem is solv­able con­sid­er­ing ISO 26262 which is the global func­tional safety stan­dard. The sec­ond so­lu­tion is a re­li­able de­vice. It’s a well-known fact that in semi­con­duc­tor physics, age­ing hap­pens. So to curb this, we have to work for the per­for­mance of the chip even af­ter 10 years. This makes the au­to­mo­tive di­vi­sion the most com­plex as this is a zero-de­fect in­dus­try. For cy­ber se­cu­rity, we have a very ro­bust mech­a­nism in place called ‘5-lay­ered se­cu­rity ar­chi­tec­ture’ which is a se­cured net­work where dif­fer­ent ap­pli­ca­tions are taken care of dif­fer­ently in sep­a­rate and se­cured gate­ways. Cap­ping this all, we pro­vide se­cured in­ter­phase which is our in­fo­tain­ment chan­nel. In case of malware or unau­tho­rised re­stric­tive en­try, suit­able re­stric­tive mea­sures are taken im­me­di­ately,” he said.

Safe func­tion­ing

For the au­tonomous ve­hi­cles, safety-re­lated func­tion­al­ity that can sense and re­act to hazardous sit­u­a­tions is needed. It’s an engi­neer­ing process as crit­i­cal as engi­neer­ing the prod­uct it­self. One of the big­gest chal­lenges is to cope with the need to an­tic­i­pate a mil­lion pos­si­ble in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the ve­hi­cle and its en­vi­ron­ment. On this Gupta said, “Think of all the hazardous con­tin­gen­cies that an au­tonomous ve­hi­cle has to con­tend with par­tic­u­larly in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment. This needs to an­tic­i­pate a wide range of pos­si­ble in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the ve­hi­cle and its en­vi­ron­ment. One of the big­gest chal­lenges in de­vel­op­ing safety for au­tonomous ve­hi­cles is con­ceiv­ing a safe­tyre­lated sys­tem and plac­ing the sys­tem into an ap­pro­pri­ate safe state.” Re­cently, NXP Semi­con­duc­tors N.V. has been ranked fourth on the IoT ONE 500 In­dus­trial IoT In­dex and is named one of the world’s most im­pact­ful In­dus­trial In­ter­net of Things (IIoT) com­pa­nies.

Net­work­ing

In In­dia, an au­to­mo­tive net­work­ing rev­o­lu­tion is un­der way, driven by the need for higher data ca­pac­ity and speed to meet the re­quire­ments of in­creas­ingly au­tonomous and con­nected ve­hi­cles. Con­sid­er­ing the shift in mar­ket mo­men­tum, Gupta com­mented, “By virtue of the na­ture of elec­tric and driver­less cars, which is the trend these days,

mar­ket de­mands con­nec­tiv­ity. Not just this, we need a strong net­work of charg­ing sta­tions. Even the govern­ment is push­ing for this.” Cost­ing is an­other lim­i­ta­tion to cope with, as “In­dia is a unique case where ev­ery­thing is needed at zero costs. Prof­itabil­ity is low but higher vol­umes are at play. De­spite this, In­dia is go­ing to get a lot of trac­tion,” he said.

On the op­er­a­tions of the busi­ness in In­dia, Gupta said, “We face op­er­a­tional chal­lenges more than tech­no­log­i­cal chal­lenges. Our sup­ply chain was choked with un­prece­dented de­mand last year. We need more ag­ile sup­ply chains, where our chips can be pro­duced and then qual­i­fied in a very small re­ac­tion time so that they are val­i­dated sooner.”

Wide mar­ket

Since In­dia is a hub for very strong and di­ver­si­fied mar­ket for 2- wheel­ers, NXP caters pri­mar­ily to play­ers like Hero, Ba­jaj and TVS. In the four­wheeler seg­ment, NXP main­tains good re­la­tion­ships with Maruti, Mahin­dra and Tata. Glob­ally, NXP is ca­ter­ing to Con­ti­nen­tal and Bosch. Makes of BMW and Daim­ler are equipped with NXP’s ADAS, gate­way and data fu­sion ap­pli­ca­tions. Built on more than 60 years of com­bined ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise, NXP has 31,000 em­ploy­ees in more than 33 coun­tries and posted rev­enue of $9.5 bil­lion in 2016. In In­dia, the com­pany em­ploys around 2000 engi­neers and is lo­cated in Bengaluru, Hy­der­abad, Pune and Noida. The In­dia cen­ter also ac­tively con­trib­utes to the de­vel­op­ment of sev­eral com­plex multi-core Dig­i­tal Net­work­ing pro­ces­sors for high speed routers, wire­less in­fra­struc­ture and net­work­ing ap­pli­ca­tions. NXP In­dia De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter, grew from a hard­ware IP and de­sign in­te­gra­tion group in the be­gin­ning, to an R&D cen­ter with al­most 2000 em­ploy­ees, own­ing al­most all as­pects of semi­con­duc­tor de­sign from ar­chi­tec­ture to fi­nal de­liv­ery. The cen­tre also have spe­cial­ized skills on sil­i­con test­ing and val­i­da­tion which are very niche and ex­pe­ri­enced from In­dia mar­ket per­spec­tive.

“As we are head­ing to­wards BSVI emis­sion norms com­pli­ance,

en­gines would have to be tweaked com­pre­hen­sively to meet the emis­sion cri­te­ria. It is about how cleaner and greener our en­gines be­come. The in­dus­try is still think­ing as early movers might suf­fer a loss in rev­enue be­cause we are in no man’s land. The mar­ket is not ready, the cus­tomer is not pay­ing high enough. All in all, the ecosys­tem is not ready. De­spite this, I’m quite op­ti­mistic” Gupta said.

New tie-up, ac­qui­si­tion

In mid-2018, NXP and Tata Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices inked a pact to iden­tify and cre­ate unique so­lu­tions that will be co-cre­ated for the Au­to­mo­tive, Se­cu­rity and IOT in­dus­try. On the agree­ment be­tween the 2 gi­ants, Gupta averred, “This MoU is a great op­por­tu­nity for both NXP Semi­con­duc­tors and TCS to col­lab­o­rate and solve com­plex prob­lems in high-tech­nol­ogy ar­eas. It would also en­able us to syn­er­gise our tech­ni­cal prow­ess and ven­ture into sev­eral new and dis­rup­tive busi­ness do­mains that will sup­port our cus­tomers more mean­ing­fully.” The col­lab­o­ra­tion will also help drive the ad­vance­ment of the key so­lu­tion ar­eas that will yield re­sults across the in­dus­try and ge­o­graphic mar­kets.”

To en­rich its port­fo­lio, NXP ac­quired Om­niPHY, a provider of au­to­mo­tive Eth­er­net sub­sys­tem tech­nol­ogy later last year. To de­liver the next-gen­er­a­tion of data trans­fer so­lu­tions to car­mak­ers, NXP plans to fa­cil­i­tate the de­mands of the next-gen­er­a­tion ve­hi­cles. Call for eight or more cam­eras, high def­i­ni­tion radar, li­dar and V2X ca­pa­bil­ity, all of which gen­er­ate steep data chal­lenges for cur­rent car net­works. These re­quire­ments, com­bined with the mod­ern ve­hi­cle’s need to off­load data to en­able the new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties of the con­nected car, will soon make ter­abyte lev­els of data pro­cess­ing com­mon­place.

In an era where ma­chine in­tel­li­gence is turn­ing away hu­mans, the chal­lenges and lim­i­ta­tions amidst lack of stan­dard­iza­tion are grave. “Call it a chal­lenge or an op­por­tu­nity, but these su­per­in­tel­li­gent ma­chines are equipped with both com­put­ing and cog­ni­tive pow­ers. When these con­tex­tu­ally-aware ma­chines come into play, these ma­chines can pose a pos­si­ble threat to hu­mans as there are no right poli­cies in play. There is no stan­dard for cy­ber se­cu­rity and mul­ti­pli­ca­tion of these self-aware ma­chines will hap­pen su­per fast. If ex­e­cuted well, the same can be used to cre­ate a big boost for the health­care and all the things good in the so­ci­ety,” Gupta said.

NXP started its op­er­a­tions in In­dia in 1990 with a mis­sion of turn­ing In­dia into a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence in SoC In­te­gra­tion & IP de­sign and has scaled new heights over the years. The com­pany has be­come a vi­tal part of the global net­work of de­sign teams, which form the core of its busi­ness op­er­a­tions and is the sec­ond largest de­sign cen­ter out­side of Nether­land and USA

Dur­ing the last decade, these R&D cen­ters in In­dia have be­come self-suf­fi­cient to be able to de­velop com­plete semi­con­duc­tor prod­ucts with the sup­port of hi-tech labs and var­ied func­tional ex­per­tise of IC de­sign, like ar­chi­tec­ture de­sign, IP de­vel­op­ment, SoC De­sign, Ver­i­fi­ca­tion, Func­tional and Ana­log val­i­da­tion, and Test. The com­pany’s ICs are man­u­fac­tured in foundries across the world in­clud­ing, US, Europe, Sin­ga­pore, China and Tai­wan, while the fi­nal sil­i­con val­i­da­tion is car­ried out on both dig­i­tal as well as ana­logue do­mains in Noida and Ban­ga­lore. Added to the IC de­sign ca­pa­bil­i­ties, NXP R&D cen­ters in In­dia have proven strength in em­bed­ded and other soft­ware that en­ables the hard­ware de­sign. The de­sign cen­ter in Hy­der­abad fo­cuses pri­mar­ily on soft­ware de­vel­op­ments in the Dig­i­tal Net­work­ing in­clud­ing lat­est tech­nolo­gies such as 5G, net­work func­tion vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion etc. With ev­ery pass­ing year, the In­dia De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter is adding new prod­uct de­sign ca­pa­bil­i­ties and is steadily con­tribut­ing to the suc­cess of NXP.

San­jay Gupta, Vice Pres­i­dent and In­dia Coun­try Man­ager, NXP In­dia

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