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Tech 2002 Awards

March 2002
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PDA integration

Pi Technology has developed applications for Palm Corp.'s Bluetooth radio for the Palm Vx that allow the user to control the vehicle radio and CD player without using the audio system controls. From the PDA, users can perform functions such as selecting tracks on the CD and adjusting the volume. Bluetooth is suitable for in-vehicle use because of its electrical noise tolerance. Applications include PDAs that instruct the vehicle's navigation system based on the day's diary, phones that integrate with the vehicle's audio system for hands-free operation, trip computers that automatically download information to the driver's PDA for trip reports and expense claims, and wireless audio systems.

Oil-pan filtration

The all-plastic oil-pan-filtration system from SPX Filtran integrates different processes and components into one product. It is designed to provide a "fill for life" concept for transmission filtration. The modularized system provides almost 50% system weight reduction over replaced components, cost reduction due to reduced number of components and assembly steps, synchronization of components (six into one system), and improved quality control due to one supplier rather than six. The suction inlet position allows the customer to reduce ATF consumption substantially while reducing cavitation.

Road wheel material

The first prototype road wheel using Thixomat, Inc.'s Thixo-molded component was developed in Japan in a joint effort between Japan Steel Works and an automotive OEM. The hub of the wheel is a Thixomolded magnesium alloy preform that is warm-forged to improve its structural integrity before it is fastened to the aluminum wheel body using chromium-plated steel bolts. The use of Thixomolding (>30% solids) was necessary to produce high-quality preforms with low porosity levels.

Limited-slip differential

The Super LSD (limited-slip differential) from Tochigi Fuji Sangyo KK includes a core clutch developed to work well with the strut suspension found in front-wheel-drive vehicles. The unit also works well in the front axle of four-wheel-drive off-road vehicles. Compared to other torque-sensing LSDs, the Super LSD has a lower torque bias ratio (1.5-2.0), which fits well with front suspension systems. Production costs are lower because of similarities to open differentials, and the device can be lubricated with standard differential fluid or ATF. The system can easily replace open differentials because it uses many of the same components and features identical installation points. The device provides good handling and control as well as a cost reduction.

Real-time controller

The TMC20070A EC-NET Real-Time Communication Controller from SMSC Japan is an optimized network controller for embedded real-time control applications. Co-developed with Subaru, EC-NET was originally designed for use in automotive control networks, but its enhanced feature set and deterministic protocol make it suitable for embedded applications requiring real-time control. Subaru's first application of the system is in a control network for the various environmental and operational functions of buses. The system's features include high throughput, deterministic performance, mirroring RAM data, real-time clock adjustment, and improved token-passing protocol. A stand-alone mode allows the device to send and receive data without CPU intervention, thus eliminating the need for CPU, RAM, and Flash-ROM and resulting in lower per-node cost.

Communication controller

The TTP/C protocol is finding more applications in safety-critical systems such as those used in the automotive industry. TTTech Computertechnik AG's new TTP/C controller models are designed to meet the TTP/C specification and can be transferred to silicon as a stand-alone device or as part of an SOC solution. The C2 and C2S models allow communication at speeds up to 5 Mbit/s in asynchronous mode and 25 Mbit/s in synchronous mode. The configurable bus interface module affords 8-, 16-, or 32-bit width and either Intel or Motorola type accesses. The first TTP/C-C2 silicon implementation, a stand-alone controller, is available from Austriamicrosystems AG and has AS8202 as its device number. The firm will bring the C2S version, called AS8202S, to the market shortly after the AS8202. NEC is also implementing a stand-alone controller based on the TTP/C-C2S and supporting the full 32-bit host CPU bus interface.

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