By Kerry Howell, Lattice Semiconductor automotivedesignline.com (January 15, 2009)
For FPGAs to be part of an ultra-reliable design, designers must protect the valid FPGA configuration used for initialization and prevent SRAM corruption during device operation
The increased use of complex automotive electronics systems requires that they be designed for "ultra-reliability," because the failure of an automotive system could place the vehicle's passengers in a life-threatening situation. System designers are considering the use of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) more frequently in these systems, due to the FPGA's ability to integrate and perform complex functions.
However, there are two primary concerns regarding the use of FPGAs in automotive systems: The need to protect the valid FPGA configuration used for initialization, and prevention of SRAM corruption during device operation. Unless these concerns are fully addressed, FPGAs cannot be part of an ultra-reliable automotive system design.
Fortunately, current AEC-Q100 qualified FPGAs incorporate several advanced features that resolve these concerns. This article will highlight several solutions that address both the initialization configuration and potential SRAM corruption issues.
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