EEMBC and Volkswagen developing automotive benchmark standards for MCU energy efficiency

May 21, 2013  by  


A prototype of EEMBC's automotive microcontroller efficiency benchmark includes test equipment from National Instruments connected to Renesas' V850E2/Fx4-L microcontroller.

The Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC) announced an expanded working group project with the Volkswagen Group to establish a microcontroller (MCU) energy-efficiency benchmark aimed at making automotive end products more energy aware and more robust.

“Volkswagen is continuing to chair the EEMBC Automotive working group and lend its expertise to ensure that the new benchmark reflects real-world system-design conditions and leads to improved efficiency,” said Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, Volkswagen’s head of electric and electronic development.

“Following completion of this new benchmark suite, we will demand the Tier 1 suppliers and semiconductor vendors to provide results for the microcontrollers that will be integrated into the next generation of electronic modules.”

Building on AutoBench

EEMBC’s first-generation automotive benchmark suite, AutoBench, was designed to focus on the CPU’s processing power, measuring the time required to complete specific algorithms. The new benchmark suite adds tests to measure CPU performance while simultaneously monitoring peripherals and energy usage.

Aligned with AUTOSAR

The working group will align the new benchmark suite with the AUTOSAR development partnership, using the Microcontroller Abstraction Layer (MCAL) to interface to the underlying microcontroller hardware.

The working group project chaired by Volkswagen currently includes semiconductor vendors Freescale, Fujitsu, Infineon, Microchip, NXP, Renesas, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments.

Reducing energy consumption

With increasing fuel costs, there is a growing emphasis on reducing energy consumption and improving fuel economy in automobiles. There is also an ongoing requirement to ensure the highest levels of robustness in any automotive product.

Microcontroller efficiency – optimizing performance and energy – is a critical parameter with far-reaching consequences, especially with the rising number of microcontrollers in the car.

Working specification

A full working specification has been developed for measuring performance and energy efficiency of automotive microcontrollers under various low-power operating conditions. A prototype of the EEMBC benchmark has been implemented on several semiconductor evaluation boards. National Instruments and Microchip were among the companies that provided equipment and engineering support to establish the specification.

Low-power modes

Individual tests of the microcontroller measure the power consumption of the CPU and peripherals under various loads, the amount of time that it spends in low-power modes under various CPU/peripheral loads, and the time required to wake the MCU from its various low-power states to resume processing.

The benchmark specification will be open to all car manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers, and EEMBC encourages all participants in the ecosystem to join the effort to develop subsequent phases of this benchmark.

“We’re pleased that Volkswagen is continuing its important leadership role with the consortium and look forward to the insight they and the working group will provide to help EEMBC define and create our next-generation automotive benchmark suite,” said EEMBC President Markus Levy.

“Volkswagen has been a long-time leader in the automotive industry, and as chair of this project they will continue to provide inputs to ensure the real-world value of this benchmark and subsequent versions that will address increasing microcontroller complexity and robustness requirements.

“We also expect that Volkswagen’s participation will produce a roadmap for automotive and other end-market manufacturers to get involved with EEMBC to guarantee equitable and valuable benchmarks for their industry.”

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