On the Road

To make cars more comfortable, convenient, safe and secure, leading car makers such as DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Ford, GM and VW are using In-Vehicle Networking (IVN) systems that can consist of anywhere from 10 to 100 chips.

The primary IVN networking protocol, Controller Area Network or CAN, is used throughout the car in body, chassis and powertrain electronics. However, CAN, which is also used in a wide array of other industrial applications, assumes good connections and interference-free signals across the network. That’s a real challenge in the hot and electrically noisy world under the hood. You have the risk of physical damage to chips and wires, electromagnetic interference and emissions, high temperatures, plus a limited power supply.

How does Philips, arguably the world leader in automotive CAN innovation, solve these challenges? In a word: SOI. As the company states on the very first page of its IVN brochure, “Philips SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator) technology is the foundation for the outstanding performance of our IVN solutions. Developed specifically to integrate different device types – power, analog and digital – on a single die, Philips A-BCD (Advanced Bipolar- CMOS-DMOS) family of fabrication processes brings crucial protection to sensitive electronics, low power and superior EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) performance. This effectively eradicates potentially perilous miscommunication in the electrically noisy and hazardous automotive environment.”

With a run-rate of 3 million transceivers per week, all Philips’ latest CAN transceivers are fabricated using SOI technology. It’s no wonder they’re so popular: SOI makes integrating networks a lot easier for automotive designers. The EMC performance eliminates the need for complicated shielding systems that protect the wires and chips – and saves on vehicle manufacturing costs. SOI’s miserly consumption is easy on the power budget. And as they’re able to withstand temperatures of over 160°C (320°F), SOI chips can go where none have gone before.

So as more and more people start their car engines, chances are good they’re riding on SOI •

Overview of CAN physical layer characteristics and application areas. Courtesy of Philips Semiconductors.

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