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  • TSMC Unveils More Details of Automotive Design Enablement Platform

    -tsmc_logo.jpgAt this year’s Design Automation Conference (DAC), TSMC unveiled more details about the design enablement platforms that were introduced at their 23rd annual TSMC Technology Symposium earlier this year. I attended a presentation on TSMC’s Automotive Enablement Platform held at the Cadence Theater where TSMC’s Tom Quan gave a great overview of their status. Before diving into automotive, as a quick review, Tom updated us on all four of the segments covered by their enablement platforms, those being Mobile, High Performance Computing, Automotive and Internet of Things. Compound annual growth rate of wafer revenue from each of these areas was 7%, 10%, 12% and 25% respectively. Mobile consumes wafers from 28HPC+, 16FFC, 10nm and is now seeing some 7nm starts. HPC is in production at 16FF+ with newer designs targeting 7nm. IoT has the broadest breadth of wafer usage including 90nm, 55ULP, 40ULP, and 28HPC+ with 7nm ready for design starts.
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    Automotive, the subject of Tom’s presentation, is ready for design starts using 16FFC process. Tom started his presentation by giving a quick overview of the different types of ICs now being used in the automotive space. The biggest driver of platform complexity comes from infotainment and the growing space of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Services). ADAS alone has several categories of applications and associated ICs including using vision, radar and audio capabilities for detection, avoidance, varying degrees of autonomous driving features, voice recognition, natural language interfaces, vision enhancement, and the list goes on. Overlaid on the traditional areas of power-train, engine control, chassis and suspension, communications and infotainment are now safety and security. All these functions are represented by more than 40 customers who have done over 600 tape-outs to TSMC with more than 1 million 12 inch equivalent wafers worth of ICs being shipped.

    -tsmc_in-cars.jpgTSMC has put a tremendous amount of work into capturing this market building upon their successful Open Innovation Platform, better known to many of us as TSMC OIP. The whole idea of OIP is to bring together the thinking of customers and partners to enable an ecosystem that speeds time-to-market and ultimately shortening time-to-money for all involved. TSMC OIP boasts over 16 years of collaboration with more than 100 ecosystem partners and spans 13 technology generations that includes over 14,000 IPs, 8200+ tech files and 270 PDKs for 90+ EDA tools. The enablement platforms build on this foundational work ensuring that all of the right building blocks and tools are in place to enable designs in a given end market – in this case automotive.

    As an example, and since TSMC was presenting at the Cadence Theater, we can look at the collaboration between TSMC and Cadence. Their collaboration in automotive started in 2015 with a focus on identifying needs and solutions to ensure conformance with the two main standards in this space which are AEC-Q100 and ISO-26262. Functional safety was a key area of collaboration and Cadence and TSMC started by training their engineers on functional safety -tsmc_cdns-collaboration.jpgrequirements for the automotive space. Within the last two years, Cadence alone has trained over 100 engineers, many of which have been officially certified by an outside agency. Together, TSMC and Cadence have engaged with customers doing automotive ICs and IPs and as a result, Cadence developed a portfolio of interface IPs in TSMC’s 16FFC process supporting those customers. Many of these IP already meet AEC-Q100 requirements for Grade 2 temp range and Cadence has committed to qualify their controller IPs to be ISO 26262 ASIL-ready.

    With respect to design tools and flows, in the second half of 2016, TSMC and Cadence worked to define a methodology for fault injection simulation and functional safety campaign management. In that time frame Cadence gained ISO 26262 tool compliance on 30+ tools in analog-mixed-signal, digital verification and front-end digital implementation and signoff flows. This work has also now prompted the collaboration to work on ‘reliability-centric’ design flows for 16nm and below including features such as aging simulations, self-heating, electro-migration analysis, FIT (failures in time) rate calculations and yield simulations.
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    TSMC wraps this effort up under another TSMC umbrella called TSMC9000. TSMC9000 and associated programs for TSMC Library and IP are quality management programs that aim to provide customers with a consistent, simple way to review a set of minimum quality requirements for libraries and IP designed for TSMC process technologies. The TSMC9000 team monitors ongoing IP quality and their requirements are documented and constantly revised to keep IP quality requirements up-to-date. TSMC IP Alliance members submit required data to TSMC for assessments. Assessment results are posted online so that customers can see the results and scores and understand the IP confidence level and/or risk of using a given IP. Having these assessment results readily available can significantly shorten design lead time and lower total cost of ownership for automotive IC and systems providers.
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    TSMC9000A (A for automotive) is based on requirements from ISO 26262 and AEC-Q100 to cover IP quality, reliability and safety assessment. It includes automotive grade IP at the 16FFC node targeted to automotive ADAS and Infotainment applications. Most of the current automotive IP has completed technology qualification for AEC-Q100 grade 1 up to 1500 C (Tj) and have been re-qualified with automotive-specific DRC/DRM decks. These IP are also ISO 26262 ASIL ready including safety manuals, FMEA/FMEDA, and ASIL B(D) certification.

    In summary, TSMC’s automotive design enablement platform on 16FFC is ready to go. It will be interesting to see by the next DAC how far this platform has progressed both in terms of content and usage as the world progresses towards autonomous self-driving vehicles.

    See also:
    TSMC Design Platforms Driving Next-Gen Applications