Infineon supplies key components for the Audi A8, the world’s first series production car featuring level 3 automated driving. The ability of cars to self-drive is split into a number of different levels: With level 3 (see explanation below), drivers can temporarily take their hands off the steering wheel under certain conditions. For example, the A8 allows this when parking and exiting, in slow-moving traffic or in traffic congestion. Thanks to microelectronics from Infineon Technologies AG, a car can take over in this kind of driving situation.
“Around 90 percent of innovations in the car are driven by electronics and hence by semiconductors,” says Peter Schiefer, president of the Automotive Division at Infineon. “We have been a recognized semiconductor partner of Audi for many years. Motoring is now safer, more convenient and more environmentally-friendly with 'Vorsprung durch Technik' (Progress through Technology) and chips from Infineon. We are proud of our contribution toward the mobility of the future.”
Key components for self-drive vehicles
Various chips from Infineon are to thank for safe automated driving in the Audi A8: sensors, microcontrollers and power semiconductors. Radar sensor chips from the RASIC™ family are installed in the front and corner radar. They send and receive high-frequency 77 GHz signals and forward these on to the central driver assistance controller (zFAS).
A microcontroller from the AURIX™ family is a key component of the zFAS for reliable automated driving. AURIX enables to secure the connection to the vehicle data bus. It assesses and prioritizes data packets and initiates their processing in the fastest possible time. For example, it initiates emergency braking based on data from radar and other sensor systems. The AURIX family of microcontrollers is especially ideal for this purpose thanks to high processing power and extensive safety features.
AURIX microcontrollers are used in several controllers in the Audi A8: On the one hand, they control the functions for the engine. On the other, they operate in the Audi AI active chassis and in the electronic chassis platform, which controls the shock absorption. The microcontrollers also support activation of the airbag.
In addition to the electronics for drive, driver assistance and chassis, other semiconductor solutions from Infineon are installed in the comfort and body electronics, such as for example LED drivers from the LITIX™ Basic family in the tail lights as well as bridge drivers from the Embedded Power family in the windscreen wipers.
Autonomous driving levels
- Level 0: There are no automated driving features. The driver is responsible for longitudinal guidance (maintaining speed, accelerating, braking) and lateral guidance (steering). There are no intervention systems, simply warning systems.
- Level 1: A system can either take over longitudinal or lateral guidance of the vehicle, while the driver permanently executes the other activity respectively.
- Level 2: The driver can hand over longitudinal and lateral guidance to the system in a specific application. The driver must always be in a position to immediately retake control of the vehicle.
- Level 3: The system identifies the system limits independently. The driver no longer has to permanently monitor the longitudinal and lateral guidance of the vehicle. However, the driver has to remain able to resume driving when prompted by the system with a specific buffer time.
- Level 4: The driver can hand over the full driving task to the system in specific applications (road type, speed zone, environmental conditions).
- Level 5 or driverless driving: The vehicle can perform the driving task fully autonomously–on all road types, in all speed zones and under all environmental conditions.