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Special Issue 'Intelligent Data Acquisition and Smart Sensors Systems'

Vol.8, February 2010, pp. 74-87





AHB-Compliant Bridge with Programmable Frequency Downscaling for Efficient off Chip Digital Communication of Pin-limited Automotive Smart IC Sensors


Tommaso Cecchini, Francesco Sechi, Sergio Saponara, Luca Fanucci

Department of Information Engineering, University of Pisa

Pisa, Italy

E-mail: tommaso.cecchini@iet.unipi.it, francesco.sechi@iet.unipi.it, sergio.saponara@iet.unipi.it, luca.fanucci@iet.unipi.it



Received: 28 January 2010   /Accepted: 15 February 2010   /Published: 26 February 2010


Abstract: Modern automotive electronic systems are based on distributed nets of smart IC sensors, typically implemented as mixed-signal ASICs. Beside the sensing device also the analog front-end, the A/D converter and some DSP processing tasks are integrated in a single-chip. A key issue for these micro-systems is a cost-effective communication with the off-chip Electronic Control Unit (ECU) for correct managing of relative actuators. Due to the limited amount of space and to reduce costs, automotive sensor chips are often pin-limited. An efficient communication between the IC and off-chip devices can be implemented by an internal bus re-mapping on a low-frequency pin-limited external bus. This article presents the complete design of an IP bridge and its implementation in a real smart sensor system on BCD technology. The IP bridge is based on bi-synchronous FIFO structures for frequency conversion and involves a custom protocol for cost-effective data transmission on a low frequency and low width bus.


Keywords: Automotive acquisition units, Mixed-signal circuits, Bridge, Pin-limited devices, Smart IC sensors, Bi‑synchronous FIFO, Intellectual Property (IP) macrocells


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