Technology company Continental has on Monday announced that it will be collaborating with the semiconductor manufacturer Infineon Technologies AG to develop server-based vehicle architectures.
The goal is an organised and efficient electrics/electronics (E/E) architecture with central high-performance computers (HPC) and a few powerful Zone Control Units (ZCU) instead of up to a hundred or even more individual control units, as was previously the case. Continental now uses Infineon's AURIX TC4 microcontroller for its ZCU platform. The vehicle software is on standby thanks to special storage technology in the AURIX TC4. As soon as the vehicle is started, functions such as parking assistance, air conditioning, heating and suspension are ready within fractions of a second. With its platform approach, the company supports the different requirements of automobile manufacturers. By individually configuring the number of HPCs and ZCUs, how they interact and how they are arranged in the vehicle, automobile manufacturers can individually tailor their architecture to their needs.
Gilles Mabire, CTO, Continental Automotive, said, 'With our new architecture solution, we are making the vehicle fit for the future. The growing variety of vehicle functions requires more and more computing power and increasingly complex software applications. Continental's new architecture is paving the way for the software-defined vehicle. The cooperation with Infineon is an essential step in realising this development quickly for our customers. Thanks to our platform strategy, proven application software can be used in new vehicle models, for instance. As a result, the time-consuming validation effort is significantly reduced. New functionalities can be brought into serial production much faster.”
The third generation of the AURIX microcontroller family, TC4x, offers the same scalability in terms of performance, memory and housing variants as the previous generations, AURIX TC2x and TC3x. Among other things, AURIX TC4x was designed for usage in ZCU and HPC. Further focus applications are radar, chassis and safety and powertrain/electrification.
Peter Schiefer, President, Automotive Division, Infineon, said, 'The cooperation with Continental makes it possible to bring RRAM technology into automobiles. Together with innovation drivers in the automotive industry like Continental, we are shaping the mobility of tomorrow. The microcontroller family AURIX TC4x is an important building block for the next generation of E/E architectures and can make the crucial difference when it comes to efficiency, safety and comfort in future vehicle generations.”
Zone Control Units
Using powerful Zone Control Units is the next decisive step towards a software-defined vehicle. For Continental, the first major step was developing and delivering an HPC high-performance computer for the electric vehicle models ID.3 and ID.4 from Volkswagen.
To be developed as part of the cooperation with Infineon, the zone control unit platform forms the middle level of the electrics/electronics architecture between the server level (HPC) and the base level with numerous sensors and actuators.
Jean-Francois Tarabbia, Head - Business Unit Architecture and Networking, Continental, said, “We offer all essential components for software-defined vehicle architectures from a single source. The new platform is scalable as well as modular in terms of performance and interfaces. As a result, we can offer maximum flexibility to automobile manufacturers for designing vehicle architecture. Moreover, we enable the integration of third-party hardware and software in order to introduce innovative solutions quickly and cost-effectively.'
Manja Greimeier | SVP & Head of Segment ADAS, Continental | Mobility Outlook | Women in Mobility
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