Freescale To Set The Pace For Automakers

by Sohini Bagchi    Sep 22, 2005

As cars become more sophisticated, automakers across the globe are all geared up to add the newest design and features, to address the growing demand of the market. At the Freescale Technology Forum, which was recently held in Bangalore, caught up with Ganesh Guruswamy, country manager, Freescale Technologies, a supplier and manufacturer of embedded semiconductors for the automotive market.

“The domestic automotive sector is small but this is a segment with good potential. Hence, the need of the hour is to bring about an increase in embedded automotive applications,” said Guruswamy.

“Today, consumers look for add-on features and equipment and the automotive manufacturers have to address the growing demand for cost-effective performance and enhancement in embedded automotive applications, such as electronic traction control, information/ communication systems, keyless entry, ignition control, climate controls, navigation systems, air bags, chassis systems and so on,” he said.

“Hence, keeping this in mind, we at Freescale, offer a continually expanding portfolio of automotive microcontrollers backed with the tools and support our customers need,” said Guruswamy. According to him, the products are designed such that they provide performance and flexibility to help manufacturers keep pace with consumer demands at any level.

Talking about some of the Freescale products that have already hit the auto-market, Guruswamy commented, “The MPC5554 was our first product to the automotive powertrain market from our MPC5500 family of 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs). As standards for vehicle performance, emissions and fuel economy put more and more pressure on automakers; it delivers functionality and flexibility to help our customers meet their markets’ demands.”

Speaking further about the products he said, “”It evolved from the MPC500 family of 32-bit microcontrollers designed for automotive applications such as robotics and avionics control. It not only enables system performance up to five times higher than its market-leading predecessors, and integrates more on-chip functionality, but also designed to operate within the harsh automotive environment.”

On the auto-market trend, Guruswamy pointed out that today, traditional body, chassis and safety applications, from climate control to power steering, have in some cases exceeded the performance scope of existing microcontrollers solutions. A drift, which would shoot up in the days to come, is the usage of embedded Linux in car infotainment systems.

“The European market for in-car infotainment technologies is all set to expand dramatically in the next few years and India is in the making. The automotive dashboard is to become the hub of next-generation car information, navigation, and entertainment systems,” he informed.

On the company’s latest contribution to the auto industry, Guruswamy informed, “From silicon solutions, we have now shifted into production. We have qualified the first standalone FlexRay device for production for the automotive market. The FlexRay communication controller effectively manages the protocol’s high communication speed and channel fault detection capabilities. Today, you can order production quantities and ramp to next-generation automotive systems,” he informed.

Having roped in clients such as Ford, BMW and General Motors, across the globe, and Tata and Bajaj in India, Guruswamy tipped off, “What is most important is our products are designed for applications that require complex, real-time control. The performance and flexibility can help our customers reduce costs, shorten development time and simplify design.”