kazuo-kajimoto
Kazuo Kajimoto
Senior Distinguished Engineer

In automotive vertical industry, we faced very big impact, which is once in recent 100 years caused by internet native business and device revolution, called "CASE".
CASE stands for as follows;

  • C: Connected 
  • A: Autonomous
  • S: Sharing ⇒Social*
    • "S” in CASE is broadly recognized as “Sharing service”, but this time we changed it to “Social”. This is because in the COVID-19 situation the needs for sharing service would decreased due to infection risk and social needs such as personalization and teleworking would increase.
  • E: Electric Vehicle

In the conventional automobile industry, it was premised that ordinary consumers, courier companies, etc., purchase and own automobiles while having dealers conduct fare-paying maintenance in accordance with the vehicle inspection system and legal inspection systems. 

For Auto-semiconductor industry, the business ended when the developed semiconductors and subsystems were delivered to the Tier 1 company that delivers them to automobile manufacturers (OEM). And embedded software with semiconductors was treated as reference, not product.

However, the automobile business in the “CASE” era assumes that the automobile is always connected to the cloud service via Internet. Looking at smartphones for example, even after users have purchased the hardware, the software is updated and the functions continue to evolve. Just like the example of smartphones, it is considered that there will be a major prerequisite for automobile to update its software in the future.

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Autonomous driving is achieved by the accurate recognition of driving environment by AI engine of semiconductor. The ability of recognition is also being improved day by day by software update.

Sharing service is also a software-based business that matches users and cars using cloud service.

Electric vehicle too, software controls not only BMS (battery management system) that manages the power supply, but also the hierarchization and redundancy of electric wiring of the entire vehicle.

These facts suggest that in the CASE era, software will be the key factor that design and develop the automotive business. Now the question is; how should auto-semiconductor manufacturers respond to such change?

In the past, it was necessary for semiconductor makers to thoroughly evaluate the specifications of products before they were shipped and also to develop many products in parallel in order to fulfill as many customers demand as possible. It was also the case for Renesas too, which has provided many types of customized semiconductors for each customer.

But in the CASE era, semiconductor’ updatability and the process of secure update become important. In order to provide updatability of semiconductor to enable automotive manufacturers to update functions, Renesas is required to develop and supply semiconductors with surplus capacity that exceeds the current requirements.

In the CASE era, Renesas focuses not only on evolving semiconductor that is presupposed to be updated in the future, but also on building strategies to introduce communication gateway as a key component in the new electronic platform (E/E platform, E/E stands for Electronics and Electric).
In the conventional E/E platform, each part of a car, such as brake pedal, is based on a model standardized by Autosar, and implemented by a combination of RH850 (microcomputer) and RTOS. In this conventional E/E platform, the area inside the vehicle that collects highly-related devices is called “domain”, and there are domains of chassis, body, IVI , etc., and each domain is independent from each other, meaning it was difficult to integrate information from multiple sensors across domains and to simultaneously operate multiple actuators. 

The communication gateway that Renesas currently developing consists of RH850 (microcomputer) and R-Car SoC (system LSI). This software architecture using a communication gateway can provide the combined functionality of devices belonging to different domains. 

For example, the ABS (anti-lock braking system) function in chassis domain and the GPS function in IVI domain can be combined at the communication gateway. When these are combined, it is possible to send the GPS location data of where on the map ABS has invoked to auto manufacturer's cloud. Auto manufacturers then would be able to create a dynamic map of slip probability according to amount of rainfall to decelerate the vehicles approaching the slippery point, or set an upper limit, so that the speed does not increase even if the driver tries to accelerate the vehicle.

Communication Gateway Software Architecture Plan

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In the CASE era, by offering new E/E platform using communication gateway, Renesas Electronics contributes to OEMs to enhance their CASE solution and resolve social issues in automotive industry such as safety assistance, autonomous driving.

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