Solutions for Safety Critical Automotive Applications

June 16, 2011 // By Marc Osajda, Freescale Semiconductor
Increasingly automotive electronic systems need to meet functional safety requirements in chassis, powertrain and body applications. Functional safety is often considered as the part of the overall safety relating to the equipment under control (EUC) and the EUC control system. Specific elements in microcontroller architecture ensure failure safety without costly mirroring approach

1. Introduction

Over the last few years, automotive electronic systems have become a dominant factor in defining the driving experience of modern vehicles. Increasingly the automotive electronic systems need to fulfill functional safety requirements not only in active and passive safety systems, but also in chassis, powertrain and body applications. In this context functional safety is often considered as the part of the overall safety relating to the equipment under control (EUC) and the EUC control system which depends on the correct functioning of the electronic system.

The new MPC564xL from Freescale is a microcontroller family optimized for safety relevant applications such as electric power steering, vehicle stability control and driver assistance. It combines an industry leading functional safety architecture with new levels of performance and flexibility. 

What do electronic stability control, power steering and adaptive cruise control have in common? Designing such systems while meeting state of the art functional safety requirements can be a pretty challenging job for system designers. Application functions increase in number and complexity, development cost pressure is high and time to market is shortening.

Design engineers targeting safety critical applications with complex control algorithms have a seemingly wide range of system architectures to choose from. However, most of the microcontroller solutions existing today either lack the flexibility to support varying functional safety concepts or require significant efforts in terms of safety software. Additional software again adds complexity and increases probability of systematic failures.  

As a consequence following mantra has been established for development of the Freescale MPC564xL family of dual core microcontrollers:

Be Efficient – provide highest level of performance, but do more with less, lower clock rates and enable intelligent peripheral coordination

Be Flexible – build a dual core concept that supports multiple safety architectures and allows the user balancing of performance and safety levels

Be Safe – generate a safety concept which is ASIL_x certifiable and reduces software complexity by putting key

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