NXP and TSMC to deliver first automotive 16nm FinFET embedded MRAM

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NXP Semiconductors is collaborating with TSMC to deliver the industry’s first automotive embedded MRAM (Magnetic Random Access Memory) in 16nm FinFET technology.

The announcement comes as automakers are transitioning to software-defined vehicles (SDVs), which need to be able to support multiple generations of software upgrades on a single hardware platform. Bringing together NXP’s high-performance S32 automotive processors with fast and reliable next-generation non-volatile memory in 16nm FinFET technology is seen as providing the necessary hardware platform to support this transition.

MRAM can update 20MB of code in ~3 seconds compared to flash memories that take about 1 minute, minimising the downtime associated with software updates and enabling carmakers to eliminate bottlenecks that arise from long module programming times. Moreover, MRAM is a highly reliable technology for automotive mission profiles, offering up to one million update cycles, a level of endurance 10x greater than flash and other emerging memory technologies.

SDVs will enable carmakers to roll out new comfort, safety and convenience features via over-the-air (OTA) updates, extending the life of the vehicle and enhancing its functionality, appeal, and profitability. As software-based features become more widespread in vehicles, the frequency of updates is set to increase, and MRAM’s speed and robustness will become critical.

TSMC’s 16FinFET embedded MRAM technology exceeds the requirements of automotive applications with its one-million cycle endurance, support for solder reflow, and 20-year data retention at 150°C.

“The innovators at NXP have always been quick to recognise the potential of TSMC’s new process technologies, especially for demanding automotive applications,” explained Dr. Kevin Zhang, Senior Vice President of Business Development at TSMC. “We’re excited to see our leading MRAM technology employed in NXP’s S32 platform to enable the coming generation of software-defined vehicles.”

“NXP’s successful collaboration with TSMC spans decades,” said Henri Ardevol, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Automotive Processing, NXP. “MRAM is a breakthrough addition to NXP’s S32 automotive solution portfolio supporting next-generation vehicle architectures.”