FPGA Considerations for Automotive Applications 2006-01-0368
The technological and process developments within the semiconductor industry during the past two decades has led to significant advancements in the complexity, functionality and performance of standard devices, such as microprocessors, digital signal processors, memories and custom Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs). Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) suppliers have taken advantage of these developments to offer device configurations that can include millions of programmable gates integrated with megabytes of internal memory and processor cores in package profiles and temperature ranges suitable for a variety of applications. The combination of reusable intellectual property, low unit costs and relative ease of implementation has led to increased FPGA usage in the automotive industry. Engineers are turning to FPGA solutions to enable the required features and functions not currently available with standard components. While modern FPGA technology has been successfully demonstrated in prototype automotive applications, the transition to production is difficult and risk prone without the proper methodology and application considerations. These must be addressed early in the product development cycle. In this paper we present the three fundamental pillars required to ensure a successful implementation of an FPGA device in an automotive application: device application, design quality, and process and package technology. This paper will also discuss common pitfalls experienced with the automotive industries' deployment of FPGA technology.