Key innovation makes new safety systems affordable in automobiles

by K C Krishnadas, TechOnline India - January 20, 2012

A technologically key innovation in the design of electronic systems, which significantly improves electronic design automation, resulting in a new quality in so-called mixed-signal engineering has been achieved.

ZMD AG (ZMDI), a supplier of analog and mixed-signal solutions for automotive, industrial, and medical applications, and edacentrum, an institution that promotes research and development in the area of electronic design automation (EDA), has announced the results of the SyEnA (synthesis-supported design of analog circuits) research project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany. 

The SyEnA project has significantly simplified and accelerated the process making it possible to develop innovative and cost-effective products.

Improved safety is among the most vital issues in automotive electronics sector and intelligent and affordable emergency systems that aid in avoiding accidents and ensuring that help arrives quickly have been in demand.

Here, the results of the project SyEnA provide for innovative and cost-effective application possibilities for future technologies. Using very accurate sensors, vehicles can communicate the course of events and their exact position to the emergency services ensuring help arrives quickly resulting in potentially leading more lives being saved, all of this done without the need for a GPS signal. 

Behind all this is a technologically key innovation in the design of electronic systems, which vastly improves EDA, resulting in a new quality in so-called mixed-signal engineering. EDA bridges the technical gap between the “analog” world and digital signal processing, as is the case in microprocessors.

Experts have been specifically working on the project to develop solutions for automated design of electronic systems, which combine complex sensor technology with digital circuits. Until now, the development process of such products, which process analog data such as speed or temperature, has been highly complex and very expensive.

Experts say the average reduction in design time and effort is about 15 per cent, though it could be as much as 95 per cent in certain areas. The main areas of application for the new development processes will initially be the automotive electronics and medical technology sectors. 

“The project results will lift the quality of mixed-signal engineering to a new level. SyEnA speeds up the time to market and reduces the need for redesigns. A lot of what was previously far too complex can now be implemented quickly and efficiently. Particularly in the area of automotive electronics, this will lead to greater safety and lower costs,” said Achim Graupner, SyEnA project coordinator and expert in design automation at ZMDI.

Andreas Brüning, director of the technology office at ZMDI, said: “The targeted funding by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research enables German companies assert their innovative advantage relating to crucial technological topics in the global competitive environment and makes a significant contribution to safeguarding the semiconductor industry in Germany.”
The SyEnA joint project got funding of approximately 6.8 million Euros from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the federal government’s high-tech strategy in the IKT2020 funding program, making it one of the most comprehensively supported EDA projects.

Nine partners from the areas of research and industry worked together on this three-year research project, and the edacentrum in Hannover provided the project management. With Dresden-based ZMDI as project coordinator, companies and institutions involved in the project included DMOS GmbH, Fraunhofer IIS/EAS, Infineon Technologies AG, IMMS GmbH, Northrop Grumman LITEF GmbH, Melexis GmbH, MunEDA GmbH, and Robert Bosch GmbH. The four subcontractors IP-Gen Microelectronics GmbH, the Technical University of Ilmenau, the University of Frankfurt am Main, and the Technical University of Dresden also contributed to the project’s success.
All industry partners involved in the consortium have already signaled their intention to use the results from the SyEnA research project over the coming years in product development.

More information on the SyEnA project can be found at

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