John H. Mayer, EE Times(06/13/2008 12:00 AM EDT)
With the entire semiconductor industry in a state of flux and established markets offering little growth, programmable logic suppliers are exploring new opportunities. One of the more promising markets that vendors of FPGAs and complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs) have been eyeing is the automotive sector.
It's hardly a secret that the electronics content in automobiles has skyrocketed over the past few years. A glance at the dashboard of any new vehicle tells you all you need to know. Yesterday's AM/FM radio and CD player has morphed into an infotainment center that now adds MP3 audio, DVD playback, GPS navigation, hands-free cell phone access and even wireless Internet browsing.
Many of these new functions place a premium on fast IC reprogrammability, not only for entertainment, but for engine control, driver assistance and other tasks. With feature sets and functions changing more rapidly than typical drawn-out automotive design cycles, designers are now looking to replace ASICs and ASSPs with easily reconfigured FPGAs or CPLDs.
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