“As a key support for the transformation of automobile intelligence, networking and electrification, chips are currently being used more and more widely in cars due to their irreplaceable roles in the collection and processing of smart car information. Semiconductors in a single vehicle were worth about $400 in 2018, according to Gartner analysis, and are expected to be worth more than $1,000 by 2024 when driverless cars become commonplace.
As a key support for the transformation of automobile intelligence, networking and electrification, chips are currently being used more and more widely in cars due to their irreplaceable roles in the collection and processing of smart car information. Semiconductors in a single vehicle were worth about $400 in 2018, according to Gartner analysis, and are expected to be worth more than $1,000 by 2024 when driverless cars become commonplace.
However, due to the complex use environment of automotive electronics itself, failure may lead to serious consequences. It is not easy to develop a car-standard chip that truly meets the requirements. Various rigorous tests and standard verifications are often required. As the leading third-party laboratory for AEC materialization in China, Sushi Yite and Sushi Group have been committed to the reliability standards and verification analysis of automotive-grade modules and chips for many years. So far, they have accumulated more than 8 years of automotive-grade verification. Experience, serving nearly 40 domestic customers and more than 60 successful cases, has become one of the most important enablers for local automotive chip companies to enter the automotive field.
Demand for autonomous driving chips surges, reliability is the first factor
In the rapid evolution of autonomous driving from low-level assisted driving to high-level unmanned driving, chips, as a key technology, are playing an increasingly important role.
Looking at a complete set of autonomous driving systems, from the data collection of the advanced perception system, to the real-time processing of the data collected by the sensors during the driving process by the on-board computing platform, to the rapid transmission of the analysis results to the corresponding execution Organizations, and even the interconnection between vehicles and the cloud, are inseparable from the support of advanced chips in every link. Not only that, under the new “software-defined car” trend, the chip is also a key technology to support the development of the next-generation smart car software architecture, while maximizing the hardware function and performance, which is of great strategic significance for the automotive industry to move towards an intelligent future. .
Smart cars have spawned a lot of chip demand, picture source: Su Shi Yi Te
Therefore, in addition to traditional chip companies, more and more OEMs and parts companies have begun to focus on automotive chips. At the same time, emerging start-ups represented by Horizon, Black Sesame Intelligence, and Xinchi Technology are also actively seeking “automotive cores” through intelligent driving to better participate in the intelligent transformation of automobiles.
“And a large number of advanced chips are bound to impact the reliability requirements of traditional vehicles.” At the “2021 China Automotive Semiconductor Industry Conference” hosted by Gasgoo recently, Chen Weiliang, senior manager of the automotive business department of Su Shiyi Te said. “This trend is now obvious. When OEMs and Teir1 choose chip products, they no longer consider low power consumption and performance as the first consideration, but put reliability first, that is, Reliability > performance > low power consumption. For autonomous driving chips, reliability has even become the first factor in building the confidence of car manufacturers.”
As mentioned earlier, the more widely the chip is used in the car, the more core systems are driven, and the higher the corresponding security and reliability requirements for the chip will be. Due to the complex and changeable environment in which automotive electronics are used, they will experience different temperature and humidity environments throughout the life cycle, as well as the electromagnetic interference of the integrated circuit itself, as well as vibration and even impact during driving. Once a fault occurs, it is very dangerous. “When the vehicle is running at high speed, even if the data is disconnected for a few milliseconds, it is very scary.” Chen Weiliang further pointed out.
Therefore, before the actual production of automobile chips, they often have to undergo a series of strict testing and verification to ensure the reliability of the products and meet the requirements of automobile regulations. At present, the commonly used chip vehicle certification standards in the industry include functional safety standard ISO 26262:2018, quality management system certification IATF16949, and reliability standard AEC-Q series.
Among them, ISO 26262 is the standard that chip companies should follow from the beginning of IC design. It covers the functional safety requirements of the whole life cycle of the chip, including safety requirements planning, design, implementation, integration, verification, validation and configuration, etc. It can be given from the aspects of safety architecture design, safety metric calculation, and functional safety verification and validation. Chip companies provide references. Although this standard is not a global mandatory standard, it is basically difficult for products or manufacturers that have not passed ISO 26262 certification to obtain OEM and Tier 1 approval, so it can be described as an “entry ticket” for automotive supply chain manufacturers.
IATF 16949 is mainly to certify the production process, and it is a quality management system that chips must follow from tape-out to large-scale production. Such as wafer fabs and packaging and testing plants, only after obtaining the certification of this quality system can they enter the supply chain of domestic and foreign automobile manufacturers.
AEC-Q certification series standards, picture source: Su Shi Yi Te
The AEC-Q certification focuses more on the component products themselves, which specifies a series of automotive electronics reliability testing and certification standards, including AEC-Q100 integrated circuit IC test standards, AEC-Q101 discrete components standards, AEC-Q102 Light-emitting source device standard, AEC-Q103 MEMS sensor standard, AEC-Q104 multi-chip assembly standard, AEC-Q200 passive original standard.
“In addition, AEC-Q also has a subsidiary specification – Zero Defect (zero defect), which defines how to achieve the goal of close to ‘zero defect’ through failure analysis, FMEA and 8DReport.” Chen Weiliang further added.
Based on AEC verification, the whole life cycle of SUTIYITE escorts chip security
The high standards and strict requirements of automotive chips are destined to be no easy task to create a real automotive chip. Under multiple quality requirements, automotive chips not only have higher standard reliability parameters than traditional industrial and consumer products, but also have some special requirements for the complex use environment of automobiles. “For example, in terms of performance, due to the complexity and long life cycle of self-driving cars, the computing power of automotive chips is getting higher and higher, and the service life is longer.” Chen Weiliang said.
Because of this, the scale of autonomous vehicle gauge chips is still very limited until now. According to relevant statistics, in 2010, there were only a few domestic companies that could provide automotive-grade chips. By 2020, the number had increased to 40. By the end of June this year, the number of related companies had further increased to 70. There are 250 types. Even so, it is still unable to meet the rapid development needs of autonomous driving.
The Trinity Project Verification Platform of Su Shi Yi Te, picture source: Su Shi Yi Te
In order to help local companies to quickly create automotive-grade chips that meet market needs, SUTSYITE has been committed to the reliability standards and verification analysis requirements of automotive-grade modules and chips since its establishment, including various natural environments and mechanical power for automotive ECUs. Environmental environment and reliability test, electromagnetic compatibility test, vehicle chip reliability, life test, etc. To this end, SUTSIT has specially established a trinity engineering verification platform covering integrated circuit reliability verification, failure analysis and wafer material analysis. From chip design to wafer manufacturing to packaging, it can provide integrated circuits for relevant customers. Comprehensive one-stop analysis and verification technical services.
Up to now, Sushiyite has nearly 100 independent patents, and its service capabilities cover the three-degree-of-freedom vibration plus temperature, humidity, and high-altitude simulation compound environmental test projects that have been widely used by Japanese car manufacturers, as well as the high-accelerated life widely used by American car manufacturers. Test and mass production reliability stress screening services (HALT/HASA/HASS) have served 1,800 customers, including nearly 40 AEC customers, which has well realized the independent and controllable AEC verification.
Among them, as early as 2016, Su Shiyiite assisted the first Beidou chip in China to pass the complete AEC reliability verification when it was transferred to the vehicle-grade level. In 2020, we successively assisted the first IEEE100 BaseT1 standard physical layer chip and AI chip in China to pass the complete AEC verification.
AEC-Q100 quality identification test method, picture source: Su Shi Yi Te
It is particularly worth mentioning that AI chips, as one of the important tracks for independent chips to break through, have become the focus of the layout of local enterprises. However, AI chips are emerging products under the rapid development of intelligent driving, and many design concepts and technologies are very advanced. How to ensure that these advanced product designs can meet the requirements of mass production of the whole vehicle and obtain vehicle regulatory certification is an urgent problem to be solved. In this regard, based on the experience accumulated in automotive electronics over the past years, Su Shiyi Special has established good cooperative relations with many AI chip companies to help the rapid mass production of autonomous AI chips.
The service capability of Sushiyite in the reliability verification of automotive chips has also been unanimously recognized by the industry. In 2020, SUTSIT also won the Best AEC Vehicle-Regulated Chip Verification and Testing Technology Award at the Intelligent Connected Vehicle Forum, which fully demonstrates the industry’s affirmation of its comprehensive one-stop integrated circuit analysis and verification technology, and also serves as a solid foundation for SU. It provides confidence in the reliability verification of in-vehicle chips in the future.
In Chen Weiliang’s view, in order to achieve high reliability, there is no shortcut. It must rely on reliability verification to provide a series of information related to product production and engineering verification. Even after being put into mass production, the high quality of the chips must be continuously guaranteed by means of Production Monitoring & DPA.
“So this requires that the overall thinking of the company must be changed, and it must be from top to bottom, upholding Quality & Reliability First.” Talking about the advice to other companies, Chen Weiliang concluded.