Low-power 16-bit MCUs target vehicle control systems

26th October 2015
Nat Bowers

Expanding its RL78 family, Renesas Electronics has unveiled the RL78/F15 group of low-power 16-bit MCUs for vehicle control systems such as body control modules, air conditioners and power seats. The high-functionality MCU group combines industry-leading low-power consumption with high processing performance and CAN communication that can be used independently for control and diagnostics.

The RL78/F15 product lineup includes a newly added 144-pin package; packages with pin counts of 48-pins and above come with up to 512kB of on-chip flash memory. When combined with the current RL78/F13 and RL78/F14 groups, the resulting lineup includes a total of 127 product versions with pin counts ranging from 20- to 144-pins, enabling system manufacturers to select an MCU that is optimal for their system requirements. The RL78/F15 group is software compatible with the RL78/F13 and RL78/F14 groups, thereby system manufactures can select these products with future functional extension in mind. The added specifications simplify dealing with cases where memory capacity or pin count eventually becomes inadequate.

Notable advances in automotive multi-functionality and performance in recent years have been accompanied by the increasing utilisation of electronics in vehicles. Today’s vehicles are equipped with numerous Electronic Control Units (ECUs) associated with all sorts of functions, such as power windows, airbags, lamps, doors and seats. As a result, the burden of developing software for these ECUs is increasing and the ability to use common software for multiple ECUs is growing in importance as a way to improve development efficiency.

The 36 product versions of the RL78/F15 group extend the RL78 family 16-bit MCUs for vehicle control, making it among the most extensive lineup in the industry. By adopting the RL78 family of MCUs in multiple ECUs, system manufactures can utilise common software resources and thereby boost development efficiency.

Two CAN channels are provided, allowing CAN communication to be used independently for control and diagnostics. In addition, there are up to three hardware LIN channels, which is ideal for applications requiring centralised control of communication, such as body control modules. Finally, support for IEBus (Inter Equipment Bus) makes it possible to accommodate car audio applications in the vehicle information field.

The development environment for the RL78/F15 consists of Renesas’ CS+ IDE, the IAR EWRL78 Embedded Workbench, the Renesas E1 on-chip debugging emulator as well as Renesas’ IECUBE full-functional in-circuit emulator.

Samples of the RL78/F15 group are now available in 36 product versions. Mass production of the RL78/F15 group is scheduled to begin in July 2016 and is expected to reach a volume of 1,000,000 units per month for all product versions combined in July 2017.

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