DN Staff

May 12, 2009

2 Min Read
Infineon, Analog Devices Join Forces on Airbag Design

Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI)and Infineon Technologies AG have teamedup to develop parts for automotive airbag modules that could cut costs andspeed time to market, especially for tier-one suppliers in emerging automotive marketssuch as India and China.

The twoelectronics suppliers say they would collaborate on a reference designinvolving ADI sensors and Infineon chipsets. Collaboration by the two companiesis considered significant because it would enable the manufacturers of airbagmodules to reduce the so-called "interoperability risk" that occurs whenmerging components from different suppliers. As a result, airbag manufacturerscould deliver their modules to the market faster and for less cost, they say.

"With this,the tier-ones won't have to worry about marrying up a sensor from AnalogDevices and a transceiver from Infineon," says Rich Mannherz, product linedirector for ADI's Automotive Business and Micro-Machined Products Division."We will provide proven parts that will allow the tier-ones to spend more timefocusing on developing the software algorithms that make the airbag work, andless time devising interfaces."

Infineonand 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, airbagdeployment ICs, power supply components, CAN and LIN transceivers and pressuresensors. ADI, meanwhile, makes the critical micro-electromechanical (MEMS)sensors, such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, which are used to detectvehicle instability or collisions.

Thecollaboration agreement will enable the two companies to pre-combine theinterface protocols that enable ADI's sensors to "talk" to Infineon's ICs.   

The two companiessay they expect big tier-one suppliers in the U.S.to employ the new reference design, along with smaller air-bag module makers inIndia, China and Korea. In those countries, theysay, engineering teams might benefit more from the cost reductions, as well as from the reduction of interoperability risks.

"The bigarea where we see the advantage of collaboration is in the emerging markets,where they may not have the experience and sophistication as engineering teamsto put these designs together," says Jeff Cubel, segment marketing manager forhigh-integration devices in the Automotive Power Group at Infineon. "In theircases, it might significantly accelerate development if they can bring in areference design and know it is already interoperability tested."

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