NXP announces S32N55 ‘super-integration’ processor

2 mins read

NXP Semiconductors has announced the S32N55 processor, the first device in its new S32N family of vehicle super-integration processors.

Credit: NXP

The heart of the recently announced S32 CoreRide central compute solution, this processor offers scalable combinations of safe, real-time and applications processing to address the diverse central compute needs of automotive manufacturers.

The S32N55 processor is intended to provide safe, centralised, real-time vehicle control that requires high-performance, deterministic compute supporting the highest level of functional safety. Through software-defined, hardware-enforced isolation, it can host dozens of vehicle functions with different levels of criticality, while providing freedom from interference between them.

Vehicle propulsion, vehicle dynamics, chassis control, body and other core vehicle functions have been implemented as discrete electronic control units (ECUs), each with their own microcontroller and wiring, however those functions can now be safely consolidated into an S32N55 processor with multiple isolation execution environments to break through SDV integration barriers.

This “super-integration” capability will allow automotive manufacturers to reduce ECU hardware costs significantly. Decreased material and reduced weight will also contribute to sustainability and extended driving range - fewer ECUs and significantly less wiring results in lower manufacturing complexity and time for carmakers.

With the S32N55’s “core-to-pin” hardware isolation and virtualization technologies, its resources can be dynamically partitioned to adapt over time to be used in the optimal way to meet evolving vehicle function needs.

Hardware-enforced isolation of vehicle functions enables manufacturers to safely consolidate ECUs, streamline software development and support lifetime enhancements and upgrades.

Vehicle functions can be independently managed, including fault handling and reset. They can receive independent software updates with the S32N55’s safe, granular Over-the-Air (OTA) upgradeability which is a crucial capability for SDVs to enhance their functionality over time.

“The S32N55 processor is the central brain for real-time vehicle control in our new S32 CoreRide platform,” said Ray Cornyn, senior vice president and general manager of automotive processors at NXP. “With a powerful combination of real-time performance, critical hardware-enforced isolation, and vehicle networking capabilities, it can deliver more functionality with fewer devices, while reducing costs, and offering upgradeability to help improve and future-proof vehicles.”

The automotive-grade S32N55 processor integrates 16 split-lock Arm Cortex-R52 processor cores running at 1.2 GHz for real-time compute. These can operate in split or lockstep mode to support different functional safety levels up to ISO 26262 ASIL D.

Two auxiliary pairs of lockstep Cortex-M7 cores support system and communication management. Tightly coupled integrated memory and 48 MB of system SRAM enable fast execution with low-latency accesses. A firewalled Hardware Security Engine provides a root of trust for secure boot, security services and key management.

Memory can be expanded with LPDDR4X/5/5X DRAM, LPDDR4X flash and NAND/NOR flash interfaces. Functional safety and security requirements are supported with memory error correction and in-line cryptography.

An integrated Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) 2.5 Gbit/s Ethernet switch, a CAN hub for efficient, internal routing of 24 CAN FD buses, four CAN XL interfaces and a PCI Express Gen 4 interface help reduce wiring and system cost. 

The S32N55 is complemented with NXP’s system power management and vehicle networking devices as the S32 CoreRide platform’s central vehicle controller solution to accelerate customer designs.

The FS04 safe system power management IC, which was co-architected to support ASIL D functional safety, combined with PF53 scalable core supply for platform design, provides high-efficiency power conversion, supports low power modes and handles power sequencing.

The S32N55 is currently sampling with lead customers.