S32Z and S32E real-time processors launched, a key step in the expansion of the S32 automotive platform! Why is this?

NXP’s S32 automotive platform has been introduced, adding a new class of real-time processors with secure MCU deterministic behavior, excellent gigabit frequency, multi-application isolation support and memory expansion capabilities. The new 16nm S32Z and S32E real-time processor families are suitable for the safe integration of cross-domain functions for software-defined vehicles.

S32Z and S32E real-time processors launched, a key step in the expansion of the S32 automotive platform! Why is this?

NXP’s S32 automotive platform has been introduced, adding a new class of real-time processors with secure MCU deterministic behavior, excellent gigabit frequency, multi-application isolation support and memory expansion capabilities. The new 16nm S32Z and S32E real-time processor families are suitable for the safe integration of cross-domain functions for software-defined vehicles.

Significant expansion of the S32 platform allows NXP customers to leverage the platform’s commonalities and benefits in their new automotive architectures, such as Arm Cortex processor cores, integrated Hardware Safety Engine (HSE), ISO 26262 ASIL D functional safety support and General-purpose software development environment and application-oriented processor family.

The S32G automotive network processor is suitable for automotive computing and service gateways, the S32K general-purpose microcontroller is suitable for body domain applications and regional applications, and the S32Z real-time processor is suitable for security processing and real-time domain control and regional control applications. Together, these devices support customers’ diverse end-to-end domain and regional automotive architectures, enabling the software-defined cars of the future.

S32Z and S32E real-time processors launched, a key step in the expansion of the S32 automotive platform! Why is this?

NXP creates end-to-end solutions for automotive infrastructure platforms

But what is “real-time processing” and why is it so important? In computing, “real-time” refers to responding to events within a specified time period. Otherwise, the app may not work properly and run unsafely. Real-time applications run consistently and predictably, so they are “deterministic” and complete their execution within a specified maximum time. To meet timing constraints, the processor core must meet performance requirements, provide fast interrupt response and provide deterministic execution, and the Arm Cortex-R52 processor core used in the S32Z and S32E series processors is able to meet these requirements. The Cortex-R52 processor core also supports the functional safety and hypervisor required for these secure, real-time applications.

Learn about the GreenBox 3 development platform supporting the integration of various real-time applications, enabling new automotive architectures and software-defined vehicles, click here >>

Initial samples of the S32Z2 and S32E2 series feature 8 Cortex-R52 processor cores with splittable lockstep support, operating at frequencies up to 1GHz. With the divisible lockstep feature, different processor core configurations can be selected at boot time based on application needs. For example, support for 4 lockstep pairs, two lockstep pairs with 4 non-lockstep processor cores, or all 8 processor cores operating in nonlockstep mode allows for high flexibility.

In the future, NXP will provide samples of the S32Z1 series with 4 Cortex-R52 processor cores for applications that require higher performance than traditional automotive microcontrollers for real-time application integration, but with slightly lower performance than the S32Z2 series . In this way, the two pin-compatible and software-compatible processor families are highly scalable. Real-time processors will also continue to expand in the future, with higher performance, and will be integrated with 5nm products in the future, creating a strong software compatibility roadmap. NXP already has a functional 5nm real-time processor test chip, the first for these future products.
Compatibility and Scalability of S32Z and S32E Processors

The S32Z processor is suitable for security processing, domain control and zone control. The series is capable of integrating various safety and vehicle control applications such as vehicle dynamics and chassis control. The software-compatible S32E processor provides additional complex timers and 3.3V/5V analog-to-digital converters and 5V I/O, making it ideal for electric vehicle (xEV) control and smart drive applications.

The S32Z and S32E processors are designed to meet the needs of multi-tenant real-time applications that support the transition from a hardware-centric approach (adding new functionality via modules or Electronic control units (ECUs)) to a software-defined approach (“virtual ECU” in a single run as a software task on a multi-core real-time processor) transition. There are a wide range of automotive real-time applications in the car. They can be integrated in various parts of Domain Architecture and Region Architecture as shown below.

S32Z and S32E real-time processors launched, a key step in the expansion of the S32 automotive platform! Why is this?

Real-time application example

The goal is to provide isolation between virtual ECUs, ensuring immunity from interference as if they were separate ECUs, which requires the S32Z and S32E processors to provide a new level of hardware isolation through “core-to-pin” hardware virtualization. This end-to-end virtualization support ensures that each virtual ECU can only access and control specific processing, peripherals, memory, and I/O, isolates these virtual ECUs, and supports failures that do not affect other virtual ECUs. a separate response. In addition, hardware virtualization supports defined quality of service levels related to external memory accesses. The S32Z and S32E processors are ready to support new software-defined automotive requirements.

S32Z and S32E real-time processors launched, a key step in the expansion of the S32 automotive platform! Why is this?

S32Z/S32E Multi-Application Integration Example

The following examples illustrate how the S32Z and S32E processors support virtual ECUs, and also demonstrate “EV on a chip,” ie how to integrate multiple ECU real-time functions on the S32E processor.

S32Z and S32E real-time processors launched, a key step in the expansion of the S32 automotive platform! Why is this?

Example of Multi-ECU Integration – Advancing Domain Controller

The 16nm S32Z and S32E processors have speeds up to 1GHz, providing a strong competitive advantage over competing 28nm secure microcontrollers that typically operate in the 300~400MHz range. This enables the S32Z and S32E processors to support more complex real-time applications and higher levels of software integration that require higher performance. The ability of the S32Z and S32E processors to accelerate up to 24 CAN 2.0 and CAN FD interfaces has the advantage of handling large amounts of CAN traffic deterministically and efficiently without interrupting the processor core.

Expanding memory with LPDDR4 DRAM and Flash memory also supports larger applications and future-critical data, including support for machine learning and the AUTOSAR adaptive platform for automotive services and data sharing. These advantages can be used both for new designs using the standalone S32Z and S32E processors, as well as for enhancing the performance of existing ECUs using traditional automotive MCUs. The S32Z and S32E processors support both scalability for new products and enhancements to older products.

The S32Z and S32E real-time processors are regarded by the industry as innovative hardware solutions, widely acclaimed, and won the 2022 International Embedded Conference Innovative Hardware Award, click to learn more>>

All in all, NXP’s versatile S32Z and S32E processors address the critical need to integrate various real-time automotive applications in new vehicle architectures. They support critical processing requirements for “real-time” needs, securely isolate multiple applications, and provide acceleration and scalability to simplify today’s software development needs and create a robust roadmap of software-compatible devices for future possibilities need. They are an ideal extension to the S32 automotive platform, enabling various solutions for the software-defined vehicle of the future.

▲The author of this article is Brian Carlson, global director of products and solutions for automotive control and networking solutions at NXP Semiconductors.

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