TTTech Auto launches ECU to future-proof automotive E/E architectures

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TTTech Auto has launched the N4 Network Controller, a high-performance Electronic Control Unit (ECU) with advanced networking capabilities.

The N4 has been designed to play a central role in modern automotive E/E architectures, paving the way for software-defined vehicles. The N4 also provides all the conditions necessary to ensure cybersecurity according to ISO 21434 and enables functional safety features up to ASIL B according to ISO 26262.

Automotive manufacturers continue to evolve their electronic systems to provide advanced software features to their customers. The N4 acts as a central secure gateway in a modern distributed or domain-centralised architecture. It also provides the functionality to build future hybrid or full zonal architectures and enables over-the-air software updates and Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) connectivity.

"With the N4, we bring cutting-edge technology to any vehicle and prepare the ground for car manufacturers to implement updates over the air and subscription-based business models," said Friedhelm Pickhard, CGO at TTTech Auto. "Our customers are empowered to take the next steps toward the software-defined vehicle with a state-of-the-art hardware solution.”

“In its role as a central gateway, the N4 enables stronger collaboration between vehicle domains and provides the ability to handle complex functions,” added Denis Gulde, Technical Product Manager at TTTech Auto. “The availability of the ECU speeds up the vehicles’ development process and helps saving time and resources.”

Due to NXP's high-end S32G network processor, multiple bus interfaces of type Ethernet, CAN (FD), and LIN, and multiple gigabytes of flash memory, the N4 can be used for several use cases simultaneously. These include:

  • As a secure gateway, the N4 connects different vehicle domains. As a Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) update master, it enables wireless software updates and subscription-based business models. In the future, it can also act as a central computer in a hybrid or even a full zonal architecture.
  • The TSN capabilities of the N4 Network Controller enable the use of full bandwidths over Ethernet with dedicated prioritisation of critical communication.
  • Two CPU clusters combine performance, functional safety and cybersecurity in a single ECU: the combination of the Arm Cortex-A53 and the Cortex-M7 supports both performance and functional safety applications. At the same time, different operating systems, such as AUTOSAR Classic and Linux, can be run in parallel.

The Starter Kit will be available from the beginning of July.