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VW Heads Microcontroller Energy Efficiency Standards Group

VW logoVolkswagen will chair an expanded working group to establish an energy-efficiency benchmark for microcontrollers aimed at making automotive end products more energy aware.

Semiconductor vendors including Freescale, Fujitsu, Infineon, Microchip, NXP, Renesas, STMicroelectronics and TI have also joined the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC).

Microcontroller efficiency (optimizing both performance and energy) is increasingly important as fuel costs increase, especially with the rising number of microcontrollers in the car, EEMBC says.

The group says its latest project will augment its first-generation automotive benchmark suite, AutoBench, originally produced in 2011. AutoBench was designed to focus on the central processing unit’s (CPU) processing power, measuring the time required to complete specific algorithms.

The new benchmark suite adds tests to measure CPU performance while simultaneously monitoring peripherals and energy usage. Individual tests of the microcontroller measure the power consumption of the CPU and peripherals under various loads, the amount of time that it spends in low-power modes under various CPU/peripheral loads, and the time required to wake the microcontroller from its various low-power states to resume processing.

The working group will align this benchmark suite with the AUTOSAR development partnership, utilizing the Microcontroller Abstraction Layer (MCAL) to interface to the underlying microcontroller hardware.

This benchmark specification will be open to all worldwide car manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers.

Once the new benchmark suite is completed, Volkswagen “will demand” that tier 1 suppliers and semiconductor vendors provide results for the microcontrollers that will be integrated into the next generation of electronic modules, says Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, VW’s head of electric and electronic development.

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