Sondrel Ltd

Key Considerations when Designing a SoC for Automotive

Blog post   •   Jan 27, 2016 10:18 GMT

Unlike other industry sectors, the challenge in automotive SoC design doesn't involve working at bleeding edge technology nodes -  it's only now starting to focus around 28nm. At this well-established and high yield node the automotive sector is seeking optimum dielectric isolation (leakage current v speed trade off). 

When choosing a project team to design your automotive SoC, they will have to take into account the specific design rules associated with,  

  1. High Temperature Operating Life (HOTL)  
  2. Automotive Safety Integrity levels (ISO26262 ASIL A-D)
  3. Testing the design to a reliability prediction program, (SN29500/TR62380)

in order to supply you with a SoC that is compliant to stringent industry safety standards.

With customer Power, Performance and Area targets, Time to Market and compliance with these design rules, you need to start as early as possible in the design process with a robust verification strategy. This will underpin the success of your design as you progress through DfT and into Physical Implementation, using the following techniques:

  • Functional Verification
  • Formal Verification Techniques
  • DfT for Automotive
  • DFM aware Physical Design
  • ESD Design Technique
  • Power Management

Current verification methodologies, such as SystemVerilog, assertion based verification (ABV), UVM and metric driven verification, will help you to  “shift left” in the design process. Each of these technologies increases productivity and underpins the successful compliance to automotive standards.

In addition, the latest DfT techniques should be applied to increase the testability of the design and reduce production test times. To meet the quality and reliability requirements of the ISO 26262 and other automotive electronics standards inserting Logicbist will enable infield and system testing throughout the product life cycle. It can also be used for fast manufacturing test bring up, thereby reducing expensive test time. Internal JTAG P1687 is also an important consideration. IJTAG replaces ad-hoc communication methods for controlling on-chip test structures and embedded instruments enabling higher degrees of interoperability and DfT re-use.

Thirdly, considerations for the Physical Implementation of the SoC. Using the correct software tools is vital as it will give you the necessary design checking, version management, register generation and documentation support adherence to regulatory compliance mandates such as DO-254 and ISO 26262. Another important consideration is the the analysis and fixing of any EM (Electro Migration ) issues. Encompassing all of your design efforts, a fit for purpose design flow will enable the physical implementation of the SoC to meet and achieve challenging customer PPA and DFM targets. 

You can download a Sondrel datasheet on this subject here, as well as exploring more information on ic design services on the website www.sondrel.com.