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    Functional safety making inroads one automotive chip at a time

    Designers are taking an integrated systems approach

    By Majeed Ahmad | May 2, 2017

    Functional safety is a primary concern in automotive design, especially in areas like driver monitoring and instrument cluster. In automobiles, functional safety standards minimize the risks to an acceptable level in case of malfunctions due to failure in electronic systems.

    So where do we stand in actually implementing functional safety in automotive chips?

    Smart, safe, comfortable

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      The incredibly shrinking world of vehicle radar design

      Miniaturized radar sensors generate, transmit, receive, and digitize signals

      By Majeed Ahmad | April 26, 2017

      The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims that one in three fatal car crashes can be mitigated if vehicles are equipped with collision avoidance systems. But the ultrasonic radars used for offering emergency braking and other ADAS features are found mostly in high-end vehicles.

      Moreover, a radar sensor carrying out four essential functions—generate, transmit, receive, and digitize radar signals—generally has three to four SiGe chips and that leads to the creation of a bulky device.

      Smart, safe, comfortable

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        As goes the future automobile, so goes electronic design

        Mentor Graphics has carved out a strategic position in automotive engineering

        April 25, 2017

        Today, the cutting-edge of faster, simpler, less power hungry design challenges all converge on the electronic self-driving platform, which explains why the industrial giant Siemens recently paid $4.5bn for Wilsonville, Oregon-based Mentor Graphics, a leading electronic design automation and embedded systems company.

        Forget hydraulics. According to industry watchers the future automobile’s control center will employ sensors and systems that pump massive amounts of raw data to and from a central platform that will generate an integrated, single view of the driver’s world.

        Autonomy

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          Velodyne takes new angle with automotive light detection and ranging sensor

          The world’s first 3D real-time LiDAR sensors were introduced in 2005

          April 24, 2017

          • Just as rotating radar detection antennas have given way to fixed, phased-array designs, a new lidar sensor from Velodyne is empowering self-driving cars by replacing its spinning lidar sensor array with a fixed set of lasers.

            The new LiDAR sensors use Velodyne’s proprietary ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) to achieve superior performance metrics in a small package size of 125mm x 50mm x 55mm that can be embedded into the front, sides, and corners of vehicles.

          The Energy Imperative

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            Trip the light fantastic: DC powered, energy efficient, Ethernet connected LED illumination

            Guest Blog

            April 24, 2017

            By Steve Pietkiewicz and Dave Dwelley

            Having largely displaced incandescent illumination, LEDs are now poised to replace standard and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). It makes sense: LEDs save energy, virtually eliminate replacement cycles, reduce heat load, and are cost-competitive with respect to bill of materials and installation.

            The widespread adoption of LEDs in lighting fixtures has given rise to another trend: The use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) as the DC LED supply, over the use of the traditional AC line, which requires conversion circuitry, internal to the bulb or fixture, to provide LED-compatible current and voltage.

            The Battery Chronicles

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              Was Goodenough’s 3x Li-ion breakthrough research good enough?

              By Patrick Mannion | April 14, 2017

              John Goodenough (The University of Texas at Austin).

              Was it all too good to be true? It made for a great story: The 92-year-old inventor of the first lithium-ion battery was at it again. This time with new research on a chemistry that could store up to three times as much energy, charge in minutes instead of hours, and operate higher voltages and at much colder temperatures, down to -20˚C.

              The Battery Chronicles

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                Battery and charger solutions move e-bike into a new gear

                By Majeed Ahmad | March 27, 2017

                The e-bike battery systems benefit from both travel charger and home charger. Image courtesy of Intersil

                Europe’s enthusiasm for the clean environment and energy efficiency apparently makes the electric bicycles or e-bikes a poster child of the shift from mechanical to electronic control systems. However, what’s new in the e-bike story is that China is now only issuing new licenses for e-bikes while putting an end to the permits for gas-powered bicycles.

                Efficiency: The First Fuel

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                  Bluetooth low energy: Control LED color and brightness with a smartphone

                  By Majeed Ahmad | March 27, 2017

                  Bluetooth mesh networking and beacon functionality are now allowing smart lighting startups like PURillume to simplify installation complexity, reduce energy consumption, and automate lighting controls merely by using a smartphone or a tablet.

                  PURillume’s LED lamps for hospitality and residential markets can be color tuned wirelessly using Bluetooth low energy (BLE) encrypted connections from a master lamp, smartphone or tablet.