Application of Suspend Mode to Automotive ECUs

Paper #:
  • 2018-01-0021

Published:
  • 2018-04-03
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Abstract:
Automotive ECUs must initialize from low-power sleep states as quickly as possible for both high perceived quality and functional robustness. As the size and complexity of software in Infotainment and Telematics ECUs has grown, software and hardware designers have struggled to meet startup time performance metrics. Microprocessor and memory interface bandwidth advances have failed to keep pace with the increasing size of software that must be loaded into Random Access Memory from non-volatile storage at each startup degrading customer perceived quality due to sluggish system performance during initialization. Hardware and software architectures in portable phones, laptops, and tablets address this same issue using Suspend Mode whereby a small current is consumed to maintain system memory while high current portions of the microprocessor and peripherals are powered down. When the mobile device is turned back "on", fully initialized content in memory allows the system to resume nearly instantaneously. While the basic Suspend concept is more than ten years old, Suspend Mode has not been used extensively in automotive ECU designs mainly due to the significant effort required to ruggedize software and hardware components for the suspend/resume cycle. However, increasing availability of standardized operating systems such as Linux and Android along with Suspend-capable automotive microprocessors and memory have triggered renewed consideration of Suspend Mode as a means to meet startup performance requirements. The first part of this paper presents an overview of Suspend Mode and the general impact to hardware and software requirements while the second half presents a concept of how Suspend Mode might be deployed in an automotive ECU and discusses some of the challenges to a high quality realization.
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