Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI)
and Infineon Technologies AG have teamed
up to develop parts for automotive airbag modules that could cut costs and
speed time to market, especially for tier-one suppliers in emerging automotive markets
such as India and China.
electronics suppliers say they would collaborate on a reference design
involving ADI sensors and Infineon chipsets. Collaboration by the two companies
is considered significant because it would enable the manufacturers of airbag
modules to reduce the so-called "interoperability risk" that occurs when
merging components from different suppliers. As a result, airbag manufacturers
could deliver their modules to the market faster and for less cost, they say.
the tier-ones won't have to worry about marrying up a sensor from Analog
Devices and a transceiver from Infineon," says Rich Mannherz, product line
director for ADI's Automotive Business and Micro-Machined Products Division.
"We will provide proven parts that will allow the tier-ones to spend more time
focusing on developing the software algorithms that make the airbag work, and
less time devising interfaces."
and ADI are both considered major players in the automotive airbag market.
Infineon provides nearly all application-specific components for airbags,
including microcontrollers, sensor communication interface ICs, airbag
deployment ICs, power supply components, CAN and LIN transceivers and pressure
sensors. ADI, meanwhile, makes the critical micro-electromechanical (MEMS)
sensors, such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, which are used to detect
vehicle instability or collisions.
collaboration agreement will enable the two companies to pre-combine the
interface protocols that enable ADI's sensors to "talk" to Infineon's ICs.
The two companies
say they expect big tier-one suppliers in the U.S.
to employ the new reference design, along with smaller air-bag module makers in
India, China and Korea. In those countries, they
say, engineering teams might benefit more from the cost reductions, as well as from the reduction of interoperability risks.
area where we see the advantage of collaboration is in the emerging markets,
where they may not have the experience and sophistication as engineering teams
to put these designs together," says Jeff Cubel, segment marketing manager for
high-integration devices in the Automotive Power Group at Infineon. "In their
cases, it might significantly accelerate development if they can bring in a
reference design and know it is already interoperability tested."