Looking to enable new functionality in automotive designs, Lattice has launched the LA-LatticeECP3 family of AEC-Q100 qualified fpgas. Available in six variants, the family is aimed at mid to low range vehicles.
Gordon Hands, director of marketing for low density products, said: "We have been looking to drive down power consumption and cost in such a way that people can adopt fpgas in applications where they couldn't be used before. This family will enable automotive designers to adopt the technology more broadly than before." The family is available with a choice of 17,000 and 35,000 look up tables and each variant has three packaging options. The smallest device is a 10 x 10mm chip scale bga with 116 I/O while the largest package is a 310 I/O 27 x27mm fine pitch bga. All variants are in volume manufacture and are suitable for use in temperatures ranging from -40 to 105°C. ECP3 fpgas support DDR3 memory and include dsp functionality, allowing for some local processing of sensor data. "One of the challenges," said Hands, "is that each sensor manufacturer has its own way of generating an output. Because customers want to choose the best sensor for the application, fpgas are an ideal interface." One potential application for the fpga/sensor package is as a rear facing camera to replace wing mirrors – a move that could improve fuel economy by up to 5%. According to Hands, the fpgas are likely to prove attractive. "Electronics is a significant source of differentation for automotive designers," he said, "and allows features to be implemented quickly. However, asics and assps don't always bring solutions because designers face the same pressures as in the mobile consumer market." Hands added that Lattice is working on a next generation automotive product which will further reduce power consumption and cost, while offering more functionality.