NXP announces new automotive processing platform that brings future vehicles to market faster

Matt Johnson

NXP Semiconductors N.V, the supplier of automotive semiconductors, has announced an all new control and compute concept for connected, electric and autonomous cars. The NXP S32 platform is the world’s first fully-scalable automotive computing architecture.Soon to be adopted by both premium and volume automotive brands, it offers a unified architecture of microcontrollers/microprocessors (MCU/MPU) and an identical software environment across application platforms. The NXP S32 architecture addresses the challenges of future car development with a host of architectural innovations designed to allow carmakers to bring rich in-vehicle experiences and automated driving functions to market much faster than before.

Modern cars are a complex mixture of applications and disparate software approaches that present significant integration challenges to the carmaker. Automotive industry estimates reveal there are more lines of code in an advanced vehicle than a modern passenger aircraft. This complexity places carmakers and automotive suppliers under tremendous pressure to satisfy market expectations for higher electronic functionality within tightening time-to-market constraints.

NXP’s new S32 platform addresses these challenges with the highest performance MCU in the industry, a smooth transition to MPU performance and an identical software development environment across vehicle applications. The new software development environment allows developers to reuse costly research and development work and therefore respond quicker to changing vehicle architectures and intense time-to-market demands. The platform is developed to deliver automotive quality, reliability and ASIL D performance across multiple application spaces.

“Traditional and disruptive automakers, even more than Tier 1s, seek a standardised way of working across vehicle domains, segments and regions to meet increasing performance demands while contemporarily ensuring fast time to market and control over skyrocketing development costs,” said Luca DeAmbroggi, senior principal analyst,Automotive Electronics & Semiconductors at IHS Markit.

“A common architecture and a scalable approach can cut development time for critical applications in domains like ADAS, autonomous driving or connectivity from both the HW and the SW perspective.”

How the NXP S32 architecture changes car development

  • Scalability across products – The S32 platform encompasses broadest-in-industry range of performance from small low power ARM® Cortex®-M, Real Time optimised Cortex-R and highest performance Cortex-A class performance classes, with ASIL D capability at each performance level.
  • Over-the-Air Updates – The S32 platform allows zero downtime OTA capability with full roll back options to any S32 enabled car domains via a secure gateway and common domain architecture.
  • Security –  The S32 platform brings the best of NXP’s core security concepts across new SoCs launched in the S32 family, offering scalable solutions that are the benchmark for the automotive industry.
  • A common IP set provides a consistent development environment via the S32 SDK. This allows development efforts to be shared across domains and eliminates duplication of multiple software modules.
  • Application-specific IP on each microcontroller gives tailored hardware support for key domain requirements like secure gateway, radar, powertrain and motor control.
  • A unique technology independent architecture – The complete redesign of NXP IP across the microcontroller families has forged common functionality across technology nodes and consistent hardware and software behavior.
  • Artificial Intelligence – The S32 platform will support a range of AI accelerators targeting ADAS applications. These will accelerate algorithms to support functions, such as object detection and classification in the areas of vision, radar and sensor fusion.

“Our insight into the future of automotive caused us to re-evaluate the interrelationship between hardware and software,” said Matt Johnson, senior vice president and general manager – Product Lines and Software, Auto MCU and Processors at NXP Semiconductors.

“We saw that to build the software of tomorrow, the software behind future vehicles, we had to reinvent the hardware. We built our hardware to enable an identical software development environment across products and applications, thereby significantly reducing software development effort and shortening time to market. Our customers see it the same way.”

Availability

Leading OEMs are now using pre-silicon emulation and development tools available from NXP’s key third party partners. Further announcements from NXP partners related to these capabilities are expected soon.

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