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MCUs for automotive powertrain control

Renesas Electronics Corporation has announced micro-controllers for automotive powertrain control applications. The MCUs enable enhanced fuel efficiency to meet environmental regulations. They support CAN FD.

32-bit RH850/E1M-S2 MCUs for automotive powertrain control applications (Photo: Renesas)

Possible applications for the 32-bit RH850/E1M-S2 MCUs are engine or transmission control that provide high performance and advanced functionality to enable improved fuel efficiency. The MCUs include four product versions. At 320 MHz, they have the highest class of operating frequency among automotive micro-controllers. They are also equipped with large-capacity on-chip code flash and RAM.

In recent years, regulations covering automobile fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions have become increasingly strict. Some current regulations stipulate that CO2 emissions must be reduced by 10 % from their current level by 2018. To meet these targets, engine control systems must optimize the ignition and fuel injection timing to match a variety of conditions, such as current combustion and driving status. Transmission control systems, for their part, must instantly select the optimal gear ratio to match the driving conditions, which change moment by moment, in order to minimize power loss in the transmission.

The RH850/E1M-S2 MCUs bring more precise control to powertrain control systems by boosting processing performance to accommodate the increasing number of calculations required. At the same time, the MCUs boost network performance to match the larger volume of control data resulting from the use of more sensors and provides stronger security functionality to prevent unauthorized access to control systems.

The MCUs support SENT, the digital communication standard for sensors, and ISO CAN FD, which accommodates the increase in the volume of data from the increasing number of sensors and the need for high-speed data transfer to other vehicle control units respectively. Intended as a next-generation automotive CAN communication standard, the CAN FD accelerates the maximum throughput. It also supports a mode allowing connection to CAN network using the earlier standard. The MCUs come equipped with four CAN FD channels.

The number of sensors used in automobiles to provide information on the vehicle or environment status is growing rapidly, and these sensors are becoming more sophisticated. The MCUs are equipped with six Renesas SENT channels compliant with the SENT communication standard for sensor data. This enables the MCUs to handle communication of digitized data from approximately 50 sensors. Since a single signal line can be used for multiple sensors, it can contribute to overall weight reduction of the wiring harnesses as well.

The MCUs are built around Renesas’ G3MH CPU core. The G3MH core improves access latency towards memory and peripheral functions while retaining an operating frequency of 320 MHz at Tj = 150 °C (junction temperature). This results in an improved engine control system responsiveness of approximately 30 % compared with earlier Renesas products.

To protect engine and transmission systems from unauthorized access and ensure safe control, the MCUs are equipped with an Intelligent Cryptographic Unit Slave (ICU-S) hardware security module that complies with the SHE/EVITA-Light standard for automotive security. It provides functions such as data encryption like Cypher Message Authentication (CMAC) and random number generation.

The MCUs are supported by a code generator tool that produces C source code for drivers, based on settings entered via a graphical user interface, making it easier for system manufacturers to develop applications. In addition, model-based design development is supported in collaboration with Renesas partner vendors. This contributes to shorter development cycles, even though the ECUs used in automobiles are becoming more complex.


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