Tag Archives: Automotive

Tyre pressure monitoring system using Bluetooth Low Energy

A tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) aims to monitor air pressure on various automotive systems. The most common TPMS sensors mainly use sub-GHz radio standards to transfer information to the vehicle’s computer. There are two different types: direct (dTPMS) and indirect (iTPMS). The use of bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity makes it possible offering a high performance. All information will be displayed in real-time by simple user interface with low power consumption. With low power consumption, applications can run on a small battery for many years. As result, it’s actually extremely positive when talking about M2M communication and automotive systems.

TPMS helps to avoid the tyre wear and improves road safety.  Due to the advantages of a longer battery life and connectivity, DA14585 is suitable for IoT applications in various industries. The figure 1 show a typical block diagram for a TPMS system.

block diagram of TMPS general system
Figure 1: block diagram of a TPMS. The block of transmission (transmit data) can implement the bluetooth low energy protocol.

Bluetooth low energy for automotive industry

Connectivity, Intelligence and energy saving are the main features for the new generation of IoT devices. Luckily, SmartBond can achieve all these features. Especially relevant is one of the series, DA14585 SoC. It offers all benefits, such as, full support of all bluetooth standards, including version 5. Moreover, it is suitable  for many applications, as remote controls, proximity tags, headlights, connected medical devices, smart home and smart automotive (Figure 2). The figure 2 shown the block diagram of DA14585, where is visualized the ARM M0 core and other peripherals.

block diagramm of DA14585 for bluetooth low energy applications
Figure 2: block diagramm of DA14585

With 96 kB of RAM and retention capability, DA14585 offers a wider memory than its predecessor in order to fully utilize standard features. Moreover, it also includes an integrated microphone interface for low-cost voice support. DA1485 supports a wide range of power supply voltages from 0.9 to 3.6 V. This range offers a wider choice of energy sources with a great design performance.

As a result, DA14585 represents the ideal solution to add bluetooth low energy technology to various applications. It supports Data Packet Length Extension, Link Layer Privacy v1.2, Secure Connections, Bluetooth Low Power Mesh and Efficient Connectable Advertising. Dialog Semiconductor has started contacting with the automotive industry for the construction of first TPMS devices with BLE. The goal is to manage the entire measurement process with the addition of sensors for measuring temperature and pressure. All powered by a simple battery.

The initial adoption of BLE technology for TPMS is a great opportunity for the automotive market and for new TPMS devices. As a result, the advent of BLE connectivity in automotive systems will open many connectivity scenarios for the smart automotive market.

Cortex-M-based MCUs Set Pace For Automotive Design

AUTomotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR) is a worldwide automotive consortium trying to create and establish an open and standardized software architecture for automotive electronic control units (ECUs). However, as is always the case with industry consortiums and standards, they are not endorsed by all interested parties, and, to complicate matters even more, not all applications require AUTOSAR.

With this in mind NXP has launched its S32K1 family of scalable ARM Cortex-M devices together with a suite of automotive grade tools and software. Initially the family will span 128KB-2MB of flash memory. All family members include ISO CAN FD, CSEc hardware security, ASIL-B support and ultra-low-power performance. Check out the demo video.

Block Diagram

In applications where the use of AUTOSAR is not mandated, the S32K platform provides a path for self-development with a free-of-charge, pre-qualified, automotive-grade software development kit (SDK) that enables rapid prototyping with simple drag and drop functionality. For AUTOSAR applications, NXP’s MCAL and OS support has been expanded with new Complex Device Drivers (CDD) and a new S32K starter kit is available free of charge for evaluation.

You can learn more about NXP’s S32K1 product line and the suite of automotive-grade tools and software that support ARM Cortex-based MCUs at the official website.

Source: Elektor

Hack Your Car With Macchina M2

Car hacking applications have been growing during the last few years, making it faster and cheaper to get into automotive tinkering. A new device was launched recently on kickstarter called M2 by Macchina.

M2 is an open-source, versatile development platform which can be wired under the hood for a more permanent installation or plugged into the OBD2 port, enabling you to do virtually anything with your vehicle’s software.

It is a tiny device (56.4mm x 40.6mm x 15.7mm) that is compact, modular, wirelessly connectable, and based on the popular Arduino Due. It consists of a processor board with a SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU, a USB port, some LEDs, an SD card slot, and built-in EEPROM, as well as an interface board with two channels of CAN, two channels of LIN/K-LINE, a J1850 VPW/PWM, and even a single-wire (GMLAN) interface.

M2 is universal as its libraries and protocols are compatible with any car that isn’t older than Google. Macchina also aims to make the M2 compatible with as many existing open source software packages as possible.It is already compatible with SavvyCAN, CanCAT, MetaSploit, and CANtact.

Working with M2 is easy for Arduino users. Here is a summary of the steps needed to duplicate our shift light project on a CANbus-equipped manual transmission car that also illustrates the basic workflow when car hacking with M2:

  • Step 1: Download the latest Arduino IDE and install the Macchina boards add-on; test everything is working by blinking an LED.
  • Step 2: Download and install one of several open source “Sniffer” applications to your computer and upload the corresponding “sketch” to M2.
  • Step 3: Use the “Sniffer” application to identify the piece of data you are looking to use. In this case, engine RPM
  • Step 4: Write a “Sketch” to watch for RPM data and light up some LEDs proportionally and flash when it is time to shift.

You can also check this video to see an example of simple car hacking:

Macchina has partnered with Arduino, Digi and Digi-Key to develop M2, and it believes that its highly-adaptable hardware will most benefit hot rodders, mechanics, students, security researchers, and entrepreneurs by providing them access to the inner workings of their rides.

As it is an open source project, you can get its 3D files, schematics, BOM, and source files on the github repository. M2 will be available for $79 and it may cost about $110 if you build it yourself. Visit Macchina’s Kickstarter page to learn more or pre-order yours today. You can also check out Hackaday’s review about M2.

Macchina M2 tutorial introduction:

Protection Methods for Automotive Electronics Circuits


Jim Colby @ edn-europe.com discuss how to protect your circuits on automotive enviroment:

Along with the ever increasing drive for improved gas mileage, automobile manufacturers are striving to make their vehicles safer with each new design iteration. The safety features that are now available or standard on most vehicles, such as airbags, backup cameras, collision avoidance systems, and tire pressure sensors, have all drastically improved vehicle safety. The protections offered by these systems are obvious. But, there are also many unseen technologies that offer additional protection for the electronics systems in today’s vehicles.

As vehicles have become safer, so has the electronic circuitry that helps provide that safety. The advanced chipsets that are used in vehicles today are subjected to countless electrical hazards that are commonplace in the harsh automotive environment. Typical automotive electrical hazards or transients include lightning, electrostatic discharge (ESD) and switching loads in power electronics circuits.

Protection Methods for Automotive Electronics Circuits – [Link]

Basic Automotive Lighting Control with MCU

The electronics trend in automotive is continuously rising due to the demand in the market. The technological developments are now into embedded system in which the manufacturers are developing products that suits to the needs of the people. In this design, it features a automotive lighting control using an MCU with S12 CPU core, 25 MHz bus and up to 240 KB on-chip flash with Error Correction Code (ECC). The timer interface module (TIM) supports up to eight channels that provide a range of 16-bit input capture, output compare, counter and pulse accumulator functions. The on-chip SRAM is up to 12KB while 240KB for flash and 4KB for EEPROM.

The design is comprised of S9S12G240F0CLF 16-bit microcontrollers that serves as the host of the automotive lighting control. It directly communicates with MC10XS6325EK high side driver for the halogen lamps and LEDs that are used in the automotive lighting module. The capacitors connected to VBAT improve emission and immunity performances the same case on VCC while the one connected to CP is charge pump tank capacitor. The capacitor that are connected to OUT1 to OUT5 are for sustaining ESG gun and fast transient pulses that improve emission and immunity performances while the one connected to OUT6 is for sustaining reverse battery voltage. The resistors closed to CSNS pin are for output current sensing and low pass filter removing noise while the ones connected to SYNCB and smart power CSNS are pull-up resistors for the synchronization of A/D conversion. The watchdog timer IN1 to IN4 resistors helps to withstand high voltage. The 20V zener diode and a regular diode are used for the protection of the entire system from possible voltage transients with load or no load while the 5V zener diode is used to ensure 5V supply for the MCU and other components that operates within that range of voltage.

This design is also applicable to space-constrained applications, body controllers, door modules, HVAC, smart actuators, and some related industrial controlling applications with only few external components needed for modifications. It is also a good choice for automotive technological developments and experiments. Since it is targeted generic automotive applications and some intensive applications, therefore it is durable compared to a regular MCUs.

Basic Automotive Lighting Control with MCU – [Link]

Engine and Steering Wheel Automotive Networking Protocol

An automobile plays an important role in a community. Aside from being a major option for transport, automobile also saves life, which is designed to give support in medications and hospitalizations. These machines are now embedded with electronic technology in which this advancement brings security and convenience to people. The engine and the steering wheel are major parts, which made an automobile useful in transportation. This design features the benefits of a FlexRay to automotive networking protocol. It is capable of 1Mbps to 10Mbps communications system. It has high ESD protection, excellent EMC performance, improved power-on reset concept, improved ElectroMagnetic Emission (EME), support of 60ns minimum bit time, and improved bus error detection functionality. It also monitors system performance using dedicated error and status information that is readable by any microcontroller.

The design is comprised of a TJA1080A transceiver, which is the main component of the system. It provides the interface between the protocol controller or MCU and the physical bus. The chokes serve as a protection from high frequency spikes that flow through the network bus. The 1N4007 diode manages the correct polarity of current and voltages to the FlexRay transceiver. The capacitors stabilize the supplies while the resistors are used for pull-ups and current limiter components.

The design is applicable to different parts of automobile in which it can serve as a backbone of the automotive network communications. Aside from automotive application, it is also applicable to other types of machineries that require real-time status of engines and gears. It is also suitable for further development in automotive application that additional parameters to be considered are expected

Engine and Steering Wheel Automotive Networking Protocol – [Link]