SyEnA project makes safety systems affordable

January 24, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Intelligent affordable safety systems are an important design goal for many automotive OEMs. In such systems, intelligent sensor systems play a paramount role. The SyEnA project aims at the analog and mixed signal semiconductor design workflow, significantly increasing the degree of automation in this industry segment.

The project, which has been completed successfully at the end of 2011, helps semiconductor vendors to make analog / mixed signal chip designs much more affordable. Experts from Hanover-based research entity edacentrum as well as from industry and academic partners have created new solutions for the automatic design of electronic systems which connect complex sensors with digital post-processing stages.

Hitherto, the design process for products which process analog data such as speed or temperature, has been extremely complex, time consuming and costly. "The SyEnA results significantly simplify and speed this process", an edacentrum spokesperson said. "Thus, they enable the design of new, cost-effective products". The research results translate in a reduction of design effort of some 15 percent - in some specific applications even by up to 95 percent. Nevertheless, a completely automatic design of analog / mixed signal semiconductor functions remains a goal for the future.

"The results of the research project bring engineering quality in Mixed Signal design to a new level", said SyEnA project coordinator Achim Graupner. "SyEnA cuts time-to-market and helps to reduce the number of costly redesigns. In particular in the segment of automotive electronics, this will help to improve safety at lower costs".

The research activities focused on applications in automotive and medical technology. One of application scenarios is intelligent emergency call systems. In the case of an accident, such as system can analyze the sequence of the events and transfer the results to the rescue teams. Nevertheless, the techniques developed can also be applied to other industry segments.

The project was coordinated by Dresden-based chip maker ZMDI. Participants were Infineon, aerospace electronics company Northrop Grumman LITEF, automotive chip vendor Melexis and automotive supplier Robert Bosch GmbH. Also research institute Fraunhofer Gesellschaft as well as the Dresden Technical University participated in the project which was funded in part by the German federal ministry for research and technology.