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Networking ECU manages data flow across vehicle domains and to the cloud

Networking ECU manages data flow across vehicle domains and to the cloud

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt



Austrian automotive technology provider TTTech Auto has introduced the N4 Network Controller, a high-performance Electronic Control Unit (ECU) with advanced networking capabilities. The N4 provides all conditions to ensure cybersecurity according to ISO 21434 and enables functional safety features up to ASIL B according to ISO 26262.

Based on NXP’s high-end S32G network processor, the N4 acts as a central secure gateway in a modern distributed or domain-centralized architecture. It also provides the necessary functionality to build future hybrid or full zonal architectures and enables over-the-air software updates and Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) connectivity.

With the N4, TTTech Auto claims to bring cutting-edge technology to any vehicle and prepare the ground for car manufacturers to implement updates over the air and subscription-based business models. The device empowers customers to take progress on their strategy to implement software-defined vehicle, the company promises.

“In its role as a central gateway, the N4 enables stronger collaboration between vehicle domains and provides the ability to handle complex functions,” says Denis Gulde, Technical Product Manager at TTTech Auto. “This ECU speeds up the vehicles’ development process and helps saving time and resources.”

Thanks to the S32G network processor, multiple bus interfaces of type Ethernet, CAN (FD), and LIN, and multiple gigabytes of flash memory, the N4 can be used for several use cases simultaneously:

As a secure gateway, the N4 connects different vehicle domains. As a Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) update master, it enables wireless software updates and subscription-based business models. In the future, it can also act as a central computer in a hybrid or even a full zonal architecture.

The TSN capabilities of the N4 Network Controller enable the use of full bandwidths over Ethernet with dedicated prioritization of critical communication. Two CPU clusters combine performance, functional safety and cybersecurity in a single ECU: the combination of the Arm Cortex-A53 and the Cortex-M7 supports both performance and functional safety applications. At the same time, different operating systems, such as Autosar Classic and Linux, can be run in parallel.

The Starter Kit will be available from the beginning of July. More information here: https://www.tttech-auto.com/hardware-products/ecus-displays/n4-network-controller.

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