Longtime automotive silicon pioneer Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE:FSL) is continuing to drive market innovation with the announcement that its ARM®-based Kinetis series of microcontrollers (MCUs) is being introduced into the automotive market. Building on its legacy of automotive MCU leadership and leveraging a revolutionary new development environment, the new Kinetis EA series is designed to dramatically speed and simplify the development process for body electronics applications. With Kinetis EA series MCUs, tier-one suppliers can develop initial prototypes in as little as 24 hours, and potentially reduce research and development time by two weeks or more.
The new Kinetis EA series of MCUs, which integrates the broadly adopted ARM Cortex® architecture, is expected to be especially well accepted in China, where time-to-market is paramount and developer familiarity with the ARM architecture is strong. The development environment planned for the Kinetis EA series of MCUs is unmatched in the industry, with comprehensive automotive reference designs and a suite of easy-to-use tools that support fast prototyping for inexperienced and veteran automotive applications engineers alike. Twenty-four hour prototyping also is enabled with an automotive development portal that walks users through a wide range of common processes, and includes integrated software and hardware development packages that help reduce development time and cost.
Target applications for the Kinetis EA series MCUs include seat, sunroof and fuel/water pump systems; general body electronics such as body control, park assist, CAN/LIN nodes, interior lighting; and engine control systems for two-wheel powertrain. Kinetis EA series solutions complement Freescale’s continuing investment in its expansive 32-bit Qorivva and S12 MagniV mixed-signal MCU families, ultimately offering customers an extremely comprehensive range of options for electronics designs.
“Freescale has an exceptionally broad automotive portfolio, and the addition of ARM-based MCUs extends this advantage, while providing our customers competitive time-to-market benefits,” said Bob Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Automotive Microcontroller business. “Freescale continues to invest across the spectrum of automotive microcontrollers, bringing Kinetis MCUs into the automotive space and expanding our footprint throughout the vehicle. Freescale’s unmatched automotive pedigree, together with outstanding ecosystem support, stringent automotive certification, and pin-to-pin scalability position the Kinetis EA series as uniquely qualified to drive mainstream adoption of ARM-based MCUs further into the global automotive market.”
“Freescale is focused on serving and advancing the automotive market, in China and indeed worldwide. The ARM architecture lends itself to addressing the specific low-power and performance needs of the automotive market, and the ARM ecosystem helps developers access third party IP and resources to improve time-to-market,” said Ian Ferguson, vice president of segment marketing, ARM. “We are very pleased to be working with Freescale, a leader in automotive electronics, to further broaden the adoption of our architecture into new applications inside the vehicle.”
Technical features of Kinetis EA series MCUs include:
- Pin-compatibility within the Kinetis EA MCU series for increased hardware and software reuse, saving significant development resources, cost and time
- Automotive-grade 32-bit MCUs, built on the ARM Cortex-M0+ core running at 48 MHz, certified to AEC-Q100 grade1 meeting the harsh requirements for temperatures ranging from -40°C to 125°C, along with enhanced ESD/EMC performance
- Scalable solutions including memory up to 128KB of Flash, package options up to 80LQFP (71 GPIO), and enabling designs that are easily scaled to suit diverse automotive application needs
- Capable of driving high-current motors/components with a voltage range from 2.7V to 5.5V. 5V analog/sensor components which are easily connected to system-level designs
- Advanced automotive connectivity through a rich peripheral set including CAN, LIN(SCI), SPI, and IIC
- Proven automotive IP including ADC, ACMP and multiple timers (FTM, PWM, PIT, PWT, RTC) available in packages to fit most automotive applications
- Rapid prototyping tools enabling quality software development including IDEs, the Processor Expert software modeling tool, MQX™ RTOS and AUTOSAR
- Reference software code made available at no cost: LIN/CAN driver, Flash initialization, motor control libraries
Support tools planned for availability include reference designs (including motor control, networking, LED lighting and two-wheel engine control); software packs for body, lighting and motor control; driver packages; and low cost StarterTRAK boards. In addition, the EA series is supported by an experienced team with deep knowledge of the automotive industry, its top OEMs and suppliers, and the stringent requirements of the market.
The initial Kinetis EA series devices are available now. Suggested resale pricing for the MCU family in 10K unit quantities ranges from 42 cents to $1.40 (USD).