Freescale Introduces New High-Performance MCU Targeted at Fuel-Efficient, Low-Emission Engines

Jose Michael

The MPC5674F is targeted at fuel-efficient, lower-emission applications in high-volume automobiles.

Freescale Semiconductor has introduced a new high-performance microcontroller (MCU) that it says is the industry’s most powerful for engine control in mainstream, high-volume automobiles. The new MPC5674F is the latest addition to the company’s growing portfolio of 32-bit automotive MCUs built on its Power Architecture technology.

The MPC5674F addresses the automotive industry’s need for precise control of engine events, enabling developers to optimize combustion and tune engines for improved fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions, without sacrificing performance.

Manufactured on 90-nanometer technology, the MPC5674F outpaces other powertrain MCUs with its 264 MHz clock speed. This fast performance allows the core to execute more than 600 million Dhrystone instructions per second (DMIPS)—about 10 times the performance level of today’s conventional engine controllers. The MPC5674F MCU’s combination of CPU performance, advanced signal processing capabilities, quadruple analog-to-digital converters (ADCs)—a first for powertrain MCUs—and 4MB on-chip flash memory addresses the growing computational demands of greener engine designs. These designs include common rail diesel injection systems, gasoline direct injection engines, homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) systems and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

The Gartner research group recently pegged the automotive microcontroller market will reach $6.3 billion in 2012, propelled in part by the accelerated adoption of fuel-efficient, alternative fuel and zero-emission systems.

While HEV production is accelerating, hybrids still represent a small percentage of new car production and sales. Leading automakers continue to enhance the fuel efficiency of conventional gasoline and diesel engines used in mainstream vehicles by optimizing engine control systems. The MPC5674F MCU provides powertrain engineers with high-performance technology designed to reduce the cost and complexity of next-generation green engine designs, including HEV systems.

Freescale has responded to the auto industry’s urgent need for green engine control by introducing a powertrain MCU designed to outperform all others. We developed the MPC5674F from concept to sampling in just 12 months, helping developers accelerate their next-generation green engine control design schedules by years. Moreover, the device’s exceptional on-chip integration and virtual sensing capabilities enable developers to eliminate the need for many external components, which can help reduce system cost by nearly 30 percent over conventional systems and make advanced fuel-saving technology more affordable.

—Kevin Klein, global manager of automotive MCUs at Freescale

Sample applications for the capability of the new MCU include:

  • Diesel. Freescale says that the 64-channel dual enhanced timing units with 30K dedicated RAM of the MPC5674F are designed to handle complex diesel engine injection timing events with flexibility.

  • Gasoline. Tuning gasoline engines for maximum fuel efficiency requires precise control of spark and fuel, using advanced calculations to govern spray timing, air volume and temperature. Running engines leaner can help improve mileage but also can generate more knocking, especially when the engine is not producing torque.

    Engine designers use a variety of techniques to address knock detection, such as in-cylinder pressure sensing, vibration sensors and spark plug ionization. These technologies rely on large amounts of digital filtering and calculations. Pressure sensing, in particular, depends on multiple analog-to-digital (ADC) converters and large RAM and flash arrays to handle large quantities of data and complex algorithms.

    With its 32-bit core, 64-channel dual timing units, quad ADCs, on-chip digital signal processing and 256K data RAM, the MPC5674F offers the performance and functionality to handle complex filtering and calculations for various methods of knock detection, according to Freescale. The device’s high level of integration enables engine designers to implement virtual sensors and avoid using separate knock detection ASICs, thereby reducing system cost.

  • Emissions. Higher-precision tuning to meet increasingly stringent emissions standards calls for a higher number of calibration tables and diagnostic information, which results in a need for a larger memory. The MPC5647F helps automotive developers meet government-mandated emissions standards by providing 4MB of flash—one of the largest flash arrays available in the powertrain MCU market. This large amount of on-chip flash provides ample non-volatile memory to support computationally intensive modeling environments and auto code generation, without the cost and complexity of adding off-chip memory.

MPC5674F MCU samples are available now to lead automotive customers.

Freescale, one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies (2007 sales of US$5.7 billion) is the leading supplier of automotive semiconductors, with more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. Freescale’s sensors, analog products and 8-, 16- and 32-bit MCU families provide intelligence and connectivity for advanced safety, body electronics, chassis, engine control, powertrain, driver information and telematics. Freescale is a pioneer in FlexRay technology and was the first supplier to integrate CAN, LIN and flash memory technologies on automotive MCUs.

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