There is big demand for high-reliability parts in automotive electronics sectors. The global market for automotive electronics is forecast to hit $204.6 billion in 2014, and reach $314.4 billion by 2020, with an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3 percent between 2012 and 2020, according to a Research and Markets report. The OEM automotive electronics sector accounts for an estimated share of 86.3 percent in 2013, which equals to $165.2 billion in the overall automotive market. This segment is expected to reach $177.2 billion in 2014 and $277.1 billion by 2020, translating into a CAGR of 7.6 percent.
As global demand for all types of automotive applications continues to grow, electronic component manufacturers are trying to keep pace with the changing industry requirements and standards. Case-in-point: One of the leading IP&E suppliers, Eaton, has recently made a big play in the automotive electronics industry. Eaton’s Electronics Division launched a multi-tiered initiative that focuses on enhancing the safety of automotive electronics, and meeting increased demand for high-reliability magnetics, supercapacitors, and circuit protection products. Key features of the initiative include a new online portal for faster component selection, safety-certified products, manufacturing advances, and increased production capacity.
A few of Eaton’s new AEC-Q200-certified power products that can be used in harsh automotive environments include the MPIA4040, HCMA0503, HCMA0703, HCMA1305, HCMA1707 and DRAQ127 Coiltronics brand inductors that are manufactured to rigorous automotive standards in TS16949 certified factories. The Eaton MPIA4040 product line offers automotive-grade, high-current, high-frequency, miniature power inductors made of composite material. They meet AEC-Q200 Grade 3 (-40°C to 85°C) compliance and 125°C maximum total temperature operation for both interior and exterior applications.
The HCMA products are high-current power inductors made of a powder iron core material that feature high current carrying capacity and low core losses. This product line is also certified AEC-Q200 Grade 3.
The DRAQ127 products expand Eaton’s automotive-grade shielded drum core inductor series. These devices are typically used in interior, exterior and under-the-hood applications with a 165°C maximum total temperature operation, tested to AEC-Q200 Grade 1.
Other new products aimed at automotive applications include Eaton’s PowerStor HV Series Supercapacitors and Bussman CC12H High I2t Chip fuse series. The Eaton PowerStor HV Series Supercapacitors are now qualified to meet major automotive OEM test standards with an extended operating temperature range of -40°C to 85°C. The HV series features high capacitance and ultra-low equivalent series resistance (ESR). Applications range from active shutters to safety systems for door locks and communications.
The Eaton Bussman CC12H High I2t Chip fuse series (1A-5A) has been extended to meet AEC-Q200 standards. The line is now available down to 750 mA and from 6 A to 20 A to meet requirements for infotainment and engine control unit applications.
However, Eaton isn’t the only component supplier making a big push into automotive electronics applications. Here’s a selection of some of the most recent devices, including capacitors, rectifiers, power supply ICs and microcontrollers, which can be used in automotive and in some cases other high-reliability applications.
Let’s first take a look at an industry-first device from Texas Instruments. TI claims the industry's first fully integrated high-brightness LED matrix manager IC for adaptive automotive headlight systems. The TPS92661-Q1 is a compact solution that is said to reduce board space by 73 percent and control up to 96 high-brightness LEDs in headlamps. A single TPS92661-Q1 replaces bulky discrete circuits, including multiple transistors, gate drivers and glue logic, which have typically been required to handle headlamp beam forming and directional control in an adaptive headlamp design. The device enables a headlamp system that is completely solid state with no moving parts that can wear out, such as motors or actuators, said TI. It also enables automobile manufacturers to create innovative LED headlamps that vary beam patterns and intensity dynamically for optimum roadway illumination and enhanced driver safety, said the company.
Another industry first comes from KEMET. The company recently expanded its line of Aximax High Temperature Axial Capacitors, based on KEMET’s surface-mount X8L and X8R dielectric platforms. The new axial form factor now enables these technologies to be extended into high vibration environments, said KEMET. What’s interesting about the new Aximax X8L is it’s touted as the industry’s first X8L dielectric in an axial form factor, and the Aximax Ultra-Stable X8R is said to offer better performance compared to competitive X8R dielectric technologies. Typical applications for these devices include decoupling, bypass and filtering in extreme environments such as down-hole oil exploration, under-the-hood automotive, defense and aerospace.
TDK Corp., another passives giant, also is targeting automotive electronics with two new EPCOS SMT current sense transformers. The devices are designed for use in emerging 48-volt automotive power systems as well as for all xEV applications, where the components can be used to measure the currents of the electric drives.
Touted as space savers, Vishay has introduced 27 new 4 A to 10 A FRED Pt Hyperfast and Ultrafast recovery rectifiers in the compact, low-profile SMPC (TO-277A) eSMP series package. With a compact footprint and low profile, the devices' SMPC (TO-277A) package is said to save significant PCB space compared with DPAK packages while increasing power density to lower overall costs. The AEC-Q101-qualified rectifiers feature extremely fast and soft recovery characteristics with low leakage current and low forward voltage drop, and reduce switching losses and over-dissipation in automotive and telecom applications.
If you’re looking for a device that keys in on standardization and efficiency, ROHM Semiconductor has developed system power supplies optimized for high-performance microcontrollers (MCUs) in a variety of automotive systems, such as electronic power steering, fuel injection, and advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs). To ensure compatibility with start-stop systems, the BD39001EKV-C uses a proprietary boost-buck automatic switching control method that ensures stable voltage supply to the MCU, even when the battery voltage fluctuates below 5 V during start–stop operation, while improving power conversion efficiency by up to five percent versus conventional products, said ROHM. The power management IC also includes a startup sequence setting function that can adapt to a variety of microcontroller specifications and requirements, which is key for standardization in the automotive industry.
Another device focused on standardization is the new automotive infotainment companion chip from Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. (TAEC) that supports high-resolution multimedia (audio, video) and camera connectivity for next-generation applications in the connected car. The TC358791XBG automotive companion chip supports the latest automotive Gigabit Ethernet AVB standard for a wide range of applications, such as front/rear/surround-view cameras, digital audio and transferring high-resolution video content to head-unit and rear-seat entertainment systems. The TC358791XBG can also seamlessly interface with and support many leading-edge automotive application processors on the market, thanks to its USB 3.0, MIPI CSI-2 and DSI connectivity for both audio and video, and will support Automotive Electronics Council reliability specification AEC-Q100 (Grade 3), said TAEC.
For automotive dashboard applications, Spansion has expanded its Traveo microcontroller (MCU) family aimed at human machine interfaces (HMI) in automotive dashboards. This is the first time that Spansion is integrating its HyperBus interface with its ARM Cortex-R5-based embedded Traveo MCU, enabling seamless connections with HyperBus memories, including Spansion HyperFlash memory, to simplify design and provide faster performance in automotive systems. The Traveo family offers state-of-the-art 2D and 3D graphics, which Spansion said it has optimized to bring sophisticated and automotive specific graphics functions into the car without increased power and BOM requirements. As the first 3D-capable ARM Cortex-R5 cluster MCU, Spansion's graphics engine provides greater memory savings, increased safety features and rich image capabilities, without the need for external video RAM. Spansion expects the new devices to help manufacturers take advantage of lower overall system costs to proliferate the advanced driver experience previously only available for luxury automotive brands.
Focused on advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), OmniVision Technologies Inc. has released the newest additions to its portfolio of OmniHDR automotive high dynamic range (HDR) sensor family – the 1.3-megapixel OV10642 and the WVGA OV10625. Both the OV10642 and the OV10625 deliver high sensitivity and HDR performance in their respective market segments, said OmniVision. The sensors also use a special red-clear filter that is required for many forward-looking automotive applications. Target applications include ADAS, including lane departure warning, blind spot detection and traffic signal detection.
Despite the flood of new products aimed at automotive applications, buyers and designers should pay attention to the proliferation of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the automotive IC market. IHS Technology recently noted that recent M&As including acquisitions by Qualcomm, Infineon Technologies, and On Semiconductor, are expected to change the competitive landscape.