Special Coverage


DETROIT – ON Semiconductor debuts it new high-speed Controller Area Network (CAN) transceiver integrated circuit for in-vehicle networking applications at the Convergence Transportation Electronics Conference here.

“We’re very happy with the new product we’re releasing,” says Bob Klosterboer, senior vice president-automotive. “It’s pin-compatible in the areas it has to be compatible. We think it’s very competitive in the areas where we have some differentiation.”

The NCV7341 CAN transceiver expands ON Semiconductor’s range of in-vehicle networking parts and is compatible with transceiver circuits from rival semiconductor suppliers such as NXP Semiconductors and Infineon Technologies. It shares the same basic design to allow it to fit into a given socket.

Where ON’s transceiver is different is in its lower power consumption and electromagnetic capability performance, as well as lower electromagnetic emissions.

“We try to have a lower-power product, either lower EMI (electromagnetic interface) susceptibility or lower emitted emissions, so that our part is more friendly with the electronic environment in the vehicle,” Klosterboer says.

The latter is an important factor in today’s electronics-heavy vehicles, he says, as radiated emissions from such things as outside power lines can interrupt a data bus, causing airbags to fire unexpectedly.

In the case of the NCV7341, ON Semiconductor employs a differential receiver with a high common-mode input range to minimize the transceiver’s susceptibility to EMI.

The new transceiver already is on the market, Klosterboer says, adding “several of the European Tier 1 electronic suppliers already are buying the part.”

Klosterboer was formerly with AMI Semiconductor, which was acquired in March by ON Semiconductor. One-third of AMI’s business was in the automotive arena.

However, there was little overlap between the two, as AMI was more dominant in European automotive circles, while ON Semiconductor had a majority of its business in North America.

“It was a really good marriage because we had almost zero crossover as far as products,” Klosterboer says.

As a result of the merger, ON Semiconductor has nearly $500 million in automotive electronics business and is focused on three growth areas: emissions, fuel economy and safety.

In the latter field, the company sees growth due to coming government regulations, so it is working on occupant detection and, with another supplier, pedestrian-detection technologies.

“I don’t think anybody believes external airbags are going to be the solution to pedestrian safety going forward,” Klosterboer says. ON Semiconductor, instead, is researching alternatives such as shape recognition using radar that can differentiate a pedestrian from an animal or fixed object.

Several European countries already have laws requiring pedestrian-detection technologies, and Japan soon will begin to implement similar regulations.

Near-collision detection also is a promising area ON Semiconductor is exploring with its Tier 1 partners, Klosterboer says, noting the ability to pre-arm an airbag could lead to less chance of a vehicle occupant being harmed when the airbag is fired.

“If you can gain an extra 50 milliseconds, you can cut down the incendiary by half in your airbags,” he says. “That’s a huge (advance) for occupancy protection and safety inside a vehicle when the airbag goes off.”