Imec in Belgium has started a research programme into using chiplets in automotive designs.
“Right now automotive is probably the biggest transformation happening with more eco friendly, safer and customisable vehicles,“ said Kurt Herremans, programme manager at imec, at the TSMC open innovation partnership meeting in Amsterdam today.
“There is electrification and the growth of autonomy with ADAS and the promise of autonomous vehicles but also the move from hardware to software defined vehicles. These key transformations require innovation in electronics,” he said.
This needs scalable, flexible architectures that are also reliable, says Herreman, and chiplets are a key approach that is already being proven in data centre and high end consumer designs. However this will require new standards and may require new certification as well.
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Imec has started the automotive chiplet programme to build some prototypes to measure the failure modes and this is currently in definition. “The bridges and interposers used for chiplet implementations are all additional failure modes, and what can imec do to research these to come up with new solutions,” he said.
Using chiplets can provide a scalable architecture from Level 2 ADAS up to Level 5 full autonomy with over 2000TOPS of performance by adding in additional chiplets, but there needs to be software compatibility, he says.
“This would need to be scalable from the L2 entry car to L5 with the same architecture for software reuse and that helps reduce the development cost,” he said.
The programme started with 20 companies in May endorsing the idea and is holding its second Automotive Chiplet Conference next week with 40 companies and six OEMs
“We are still looking to form an alliance, it’s a group of companies that are coming together,” he said. “This will create a more resilient ecosystem with multiple players able to add their IP to future chiplets but this will need a future standard. We need to agree as an industry on the interconnect, such as UCIe and BoW but at imec we believe we should agree on protocols, form factors, diagnostics and functional safety.”
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This may also need different certification from AECQ100 today.
“The big challenges are to meet automotive reliability and quality. We need to have a serious conversation about whether that standard is still applicable. It’s now a very different mission profile to what AECQ100 was designed for and we need to make sure we meet the automotive requirements for safety and quality but doesn’t result in chiplets that are twice the size they need to be. These are the kinds of things we are thinking about,” he said.