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Lattice Certus-NX FPGAs Optimized for Automotive Applications

Lattice Certus-NX FPGAs Optimized for Automotive Applications
Posted 08/25/2021 by Juju Joyce

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There are many factors driving the use of semiconductors in today’s cars, including consumer demand for electric vehicles (which require sophisticated electronics to maximize battery life), advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), and human-machine interfaces (HMIs) for infotainment systems that support technologies like voice control and gesture recognition. In addition to the external AI-powered vision systems used to support ADAS and autonomous driving features, automotive developers are exploring the use of in-cabin vision systems and AI, not just for monitoring a driver for drowsiness, inattention, or impairment, but also for monitoring any passengers (e.g., to ensure that children and/or pets aren’t inadvertently left alone in the car) and objects (e.g., in the case of a taxi, to make sure that items like bags, packages, phones, and wallets aren’t unintentionally left in the vehicle).

Vehicles are also becoming increasingly connected, with many of today’s automobiles being V2X or 5G-enabled. Along with all this connectivity comes the demand for connected systems in cars that meet local regulatory safety requirements to maintain data privacy and security against hacking.

For some time now, Lattice has offered versions of our low power FPGAs optimized for use in automotive applications. These automotive FPGAs include devices from our Lattice CrossLink™ family (for use in high-speed video and sensor applications) and our Lattice Mach™ family (used in platform management and security applications). Today we’re excited to announce that our general purpose FPGA family now also offers automotive versions with the launch of Lattice Certus™-NX Automotive.

Certus-NX Automotive FPGAs are compelling silicon options for tasks like battery management, managing in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, in-vehicle networking (IVN), and sensor data co-processing in ADAS systems.

Some of the automotive applications for Lattice FPGAs
Some of the automotive applications for Lattice FPGAs

Based on the Lattice Nexus™ FPGA platform, the Certus-NX family features high capacity, high performance, low power FPGAs that offer best-in-class high I/O density in small form factors. The devices support up to 10 Gbps SERDES, up to 150K look-up tables (LUTs), and efficient processing enabled by the most on-chip memory resources in their class. These features and benefits are now available to automotive customers as Certus-NX Automotive FPGAs are AEC-Q100 qualified. This qualification, in addition to their inherent reliability (100X better soft-error rate (SER) performance than similar FPGAs), makes Certus-NX Automotive FPGAs ideal for use in challenging automotive environments.

Safety and security applications require the use of electronic components using authentication and encryption to protect against cyberattacks. In order to protect their bitstreams against unauthorized access, Certus-NX FPGAs support AES-256 encryption and elliptic curve digital signature algorithm (ECDSA) bitstream authentication (these are currently the smallest FPGAs on the market to support ECDSA).

Certus-NX Automotive FPGAs provide features and performance levels that exceed those of similar competing FPGAs, including:

  • Up to 4X lower power, with a programmable back bias that enables user-selectable high performance or low power operating modes depending on the needs of the application.
  • Up to 3X smaller size, while still supporting 5 Gbps PCIe, 1.5 Gbps SGMII, and 1066 Mbps DDR3.
  • Up to 70 percent faster input/outputs (I/Os) that support up to 1.5 Gbps differential signals.
  • Up to 2X more I/Os per mm2.
  • Ultra-fast configuration from SPI memory that’s up to 12X faster than similar competing FPGAs, with individual I/Os able to configure in just 3 ms, and full-device startup in only 8-14 ms, depending on device capacity.

Certus-NX Automotive FPGAs are supported by our intuitive and easy-to-use design tools, including Lattice Diamond™ and Lattice Radiant™. These tools are complemented by Lattice Propel™, a design environment with a complete set of graphical and command-line tools that can be used to create, analyze, compile, and debug both the hardware design of an FPGA-based processor system and the software designed for that processor system.

Certus-NX Automotive FPGAs are also supported by the Lattice mVision™ and Lattice sensAI™ solution stacks. This means designers can leverage the stacks’ modular hardware platforms, reference designs, neural network IP cores, and custom design services to accelerate the design of automotive vision systems and AI applications.