"Connecting the analog world with the digital": Page 2 of 6

October 21, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
"Connecting the analog world with the digital"
The real world is analog, but more and more information processing takes place in the digital sphere. This holds true in all areas of electronics application, and in particular in automotive electronics. Against this backdrop, it is obvious that the companies controlling the transition from one to the other sphere are of increasing importance. Analog Devices (ADI) is such a company. eeNews Europe spoke with Stefan Steyerl, Director Sales Mobility & Transportation for ADI EMEA.

eeNews Europe: Do other OEMs also have such or similar programs in place? Perhaps also on an international scale?

Steyerl: I don't know whether other OEMs with whom we work have a similarly structured and open R&D program as Audi. But of course all OEMs have their semiconductor strategies and have a similar approach to working with Tier 2 semiconductor manufacturers early in the development. Conversely, it is also our aim to identify corresponding development trends at an early stage. We do this with all relevant automotive manufacturers.

eeNews Europe: In which application areas does ADI focus?

Steyerl: Our focus as a semiconductor manufacturer is to connect the analog world with the digital world. Starting with the sensing, the acquisition of physical quantities, up to the provision of the corresponding processing capabilities for the resulting data. This general strategy of ADI can also be found in the automotive sector. We were the first semiconductor manufacturer in 1993 to have a MEMS acceleration sensor for airbag control in series production at vehicle manufacturers. We have continued this tradition of development from driver assistance systems to sensors for automated driving. There is an increasing need for sensors to understand what is happening around the vehicle. Several different technologies are relevant. First of all, radar, on which we have a very strong focus, and then lidar technology, in which we also have considerable activities. We do not sell cameras and camera sensors for automated driving, but our network technologies enable us to connect such cameras. We are also represented in simple driver assistance systems with reversing cameras via our video interfaces and codec modules.

These are our focal points in the area of safety. In addition, we focus on powertrains, especially electrified powertrains. Our focus here is on battery management systems. Years ago, we entered the traditional battery management system business, i.e. the management of 12V lead acid systems. Here we now have third-generation products on the market; we integrated everything on a chip that is necessary to measure such a battery. Such miniaturized systems sit on the terminal of the battery and record its charge state, voltage, currents and temperature. These systems are necessary for modern start-stop systems in micro hybrids. Today, we are the market leader in this segment and cooperate with Tier 1 suppliers, who in turn are the market leaders in their field. We have a market share of over 80%. This is a very interesting market, because start-stop systems have started in Europe, but can now be found in vehicles worldwide.

The acquisition of Linear Technology has also given us a strong focus on higher-voltage battery management systems. This ranges from 48 volts to 800 V traction batteries. It enables us to map cell monitoring in lithium-ion batteries and also interfacing them with higher-level systems. This will make the electrification of vehicles, especially measurements on lithium-ion batteries, a further focal point. In addition, these high-voltage batteries must be decoupled from the other electronic systems. We have solutions for this with our Isopower family. We are also active in the field of insulation technologies for gate drivers based on ADI I-couplers. These have been found in such vehicles for many years.

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