New ‘Brain’ Component Launched For Better Powertrain Management

Ever wondered what we are talking about when we refer to the “brains” of a car? This new component launched by Freescale is one of the key components of said brain.

Freescale Semiconductor announced the new Qorivva MPC5777M multicore microcontroller (MCU), which it calls the latest advancement in its extensive Qorivva product line.

This advanced MCU family will help automakers worldwide address regional automotive fuel economy and safety trends by providing outstanding performance for a new generation of engine management solutions. Essentially, it will allow cars to think and react faster than they currently do in how they manage their powertrain operation.

Automakers are under increasing pressure from both governments and consumers to improve overall fuel efficiency across their fleet (e.g. the U.S. goal is expected to be 54.5 MPG by 2025) and lower polluting emissions.

Achieving these results is done by increasingly tight computerized control of the complete engine combustion process.

According to Freescale, the Qorivva MPC5777M launched this week will help address these needs by powering traditional diesel and gasoline direct injection systems as well as hybrid electric and plug-in electric vehicles. The MPC5777M MCU provides three times the performance of Freescale’s Qorivva MPC5674F MCU, which has the highest official performance benchmark score in the industry.

By harnessing this level of performance, automakers can simultaneously improve fuel economy and lower emissions. The MCU, with its smart on-chip partitioning, allows virtually instantaneous switching between high-performance and low-power operations, reducing the load on an increasingly complex vehicle electrical system.

“As the global powertrain market continues to evolve, Freescale is working hard to anticipate our customers’ needs by providing the value and capabilities required for future engine control developments,” said Ray Cornyn, vice president of Global Marketing for Freescale’s Automotive MCU business. “The Qorivva MPC5777M device, along with our recently announced MCU for electronic braking systems at Continental, demonstrates Freescale’s leadership in the most advanced areas of automotive electronics.”

Another issue this MCU helps to solve is the security aspect. With the tremendous amount of data streaming through today’s vehicles, security has become a necessity for automakers to protect their control systems from software attacks.

Freescale says the MPC5777M MCU offers a hardware security module (HSM), which can prevent a hacker from taking control of the engine control unit. In addition, tamper detection protects against unauthorized code changes, power modifications and emissions tampering, which can lead to potentially critical damages to the automotive systems.

Automakers will have access to these components late 2013, so you can expect to see the benefits of these new MCU start to appear on 2014 and 2015 model year vehicles.