Other semiconductor makers are rolling out similar solutions. Late last year, Renesas Electronics introduced its RH850 32-bit RISC MCUs, which incorporate up to 8 MB of Flash memory. It also rolled out the RZ family of ARM-based microprocessors, aimed at applications requiring up to 300 MHz of performance.
For end node communication, Freescale also recently unveiled its S12 MagniV microcontroller portfolio. MagniV is targeted at the end nodes on LIN body networks (which handle doors, windows, and lighting), as well as CAN networks (which control onboard diagnostics and powertrain). Freescale says the new MagniV family will enable automotive engineers to use fewer components and cut board sizes at the end nodes, possibly removing as much as 20 pounds of copper wiring from vehicles.
To be sure, the auto industry still has a major challenge in its ongoing electronic clean-up efforts. Vehicles use MCUs in virtually every major auto system, ranging from engines and transmissions to air bags and instrument clusters. Moreover, the list is growing, as processors migrate out to ignitions, horns, phones, headlights, heaters, seat motors, turn signals, dome lights, DVD players, window lifts, navigation products, power steering systems, and tire pressure management devices, to name just a few.
But suppliers believe that the latest generation of their MCUs can make in-roads. “There’s a way to reduce the number of modules and gateways,” Loane told us. “Hypothetically, if we could get it down to a single module that integrates all the functionality, that would be ideal.”
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.