Multicore MCUs target cleaner automotive powertrains

October 13, 2011 // By Phil Ling
Freescale Semiconductor has announced the first of several powerful multicore automotive MCUs intended to help make it easier for automotive designers to improve engine efficiency and reduce exhaust pollution. Global automakers are expected to use them to incorporate state-of-the art technology, such as direct injection, turbo-charging and full drive by wire systems into a single controller.

The multicore Qorivva 32-bit MPC5676R MCU, built on Power Architecture technology, are claimed to provide four times the performance, double the memory space and more functionality than the previous-generation, single-core MPC5566 MCU.  

"Freescale understands the key role technology plays in helping automakers produce greener, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and we have a long history of working with the automotive industry to develop the solutions they need for their latest-generation designs," said Ray Cornyn, vice president of Freescale's Automotive MCU business.

"For powertrain, our goal is to produce the most powerful and flexible MCUs that can simultaneously manage all the complex control of a modern engine, while giving designers the tools and software platforms they need to reduce system complexity." The device includes two parallel 180 MHz 32 Bit Power Architecture processors, delivering increased performance and features to address the competitive forces of the automotive industry head-on.

Freescale claims that the industry-standard Power Architecture cores make it easy for software engineers to reuse legacy code, helping drive down automakers' costs even when moving to advanced multi-core architectures. The devices target a variety of powertrain control applications, including diesel, gasoline and natural gas engines and hybrid electric and plug-in electric vehicles. Freescale says it continues to work with global automotive OEMs, including GM, to provide 32-bit MCU solutions that can meet the performance demands required to manage complex powertrain systems.

Each Qorivva MCU comes with a full run-time software solution, including AUTOSAR MCAL driver suites and AUTOSAR real-time operating system for single-core and multicore MCUs. Qorivva MCUs also are supported by development tools, including high-performance compilers and multicore debuggers from Freescale development partners. Access to this ecosystem of Freescale and third-party tools are claimed to help reduce application development complexity and debugging/validation time during prototyping and software integration. In addition, the Qorivva powertrain portfolio is now supported by a new eTPU compiler, debugger and simulator.

Freescale plans to offer evaluation kits and