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Actel drive FPGAs 'under the hood'

19 September 2007 News

Aimed at providing automotive manufacturers with a flexible, highly reliable alternative to costly and complex ASIC technology, Actel has announced that its low-power ProASIC3 field-programmable gate array (FPGA) family has achieved AEC-Q100, Grade 2 and Grade 1 qualification - passing a series of critical stress tests designed to ensure the quality, reliability and endurance of semiconductors in automotive applications.

Aimed at providing automotive manufacturers with a flexible, highly reliable alternative to costly and complex ASIC technology, Actel has announced that its low-power ProASIC3 field-programmable gate array (FPGA) family has achieved AEC-Q100, Grade 2 and Grade 1 qualification - passing a series of critical stress tests designed to ensure the quality, reliability and endurance of semiconductors in automotive applications.

Actel boasts that its ProASIC3 devices represent the industry's first FPGAs to achieve this quality level. The company also announced support for the production part approval process (PPAP) - a process used by the automotive industry to ensure the availability of specific, in-depth documentation for all parts used in the automotive supply chain.

AEC-Q100, Grade 1 qualification now enables FPGA technology to move beyond in-cabin telematics and infotainment applications into system-critical applications such as powertrain, engine control modules and safety systems. Furthermore, because Actel's FPGAs feature very low power consumption, the devices can endure the most demanding operating temperatures and satisfy the demands of space-constrained applications such as back-up cameras and side-looking 'blind-spot' safety systems with limited ventilation.

"It is one thing to ensure that a device can operate in a car navigation or entertainment system, but to deliver an FPGA for system-critical applications with a zero defect goal is an entirely different animal," said Martin Mason, director of silicon product marketing for Actel. "Until now, automotive manufacturers have engaged in the costly and complex design of application-specific devices because it was the only way to get the low power, reliability and endurance needed for the most demanding automotive systems. The flexibility of the ProASIC3 family enables widespread adoption of Flash-based FPGAs in system-critical automotive applications."

Actel also announced today that Delphi, a global supplier of mobile electronics and transportation systems, will be using the Actel ProASIC3 FPGA in a production engine control module being designed into a heavy-duty diesel engine.

"The low-power FPGAs required for high-temperature automotive applications are now critical for next-generation automotive electronics applications," said Mike Williams, research vice president at Gartner. "An FPGA achieving an AECQ-100 Grade 1 qualification will enable automotive manufacturers to leverage FPGA technology in system-critical and space-constrained automotive applications."



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