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Microchip Develops Automobile Grade Microcontrollers and Microprocessors for any Eventuality

Written by Stephen Vicinanza

Microchip develops automobile-grade microcontrollers (MCUs) and microprocessors (MPUs) to fit just about any eventuality that may come along in next-generation automotive development. The Microchip MCU and MPU portfolio create an industry standard. The AEC-Q100-qualified 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit MCUs, Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs), and MPUs can be found in embedded control systems throughout the vehicle.

The devices herein offer robust functional safety features that can aid in the designing and development of safety-critical applications. THE AEC-Q100 Grade 0 qualified devices simplify high temperature (150°C) underhood applications development.  There are three main groups of MCUs and one group of MPUs discussed here, that aid in automotive-grade application processes.

8-bit MCUs

Microchip supplies many of the 8-bit microcontrollers to the automotive industry. The PIC and AVR MCUs have flexible package options in a pin range of 6 to 80 and program flash up to 128KB. There are many applications that can utilize this level of MCU, such as sensor interfaces, control units, capacitive touch, interior, and exterior LED lighting, and LIN and CAN communications.

Key features

  • For creating cost-effective, low-power touch designs a Peripheral Touch Controller (PTC)
  • Sensor interfacing and signal conditioning with intelligent analog peripherals
  • Core independent peripherals (CIPs) that don’t need constant interaction with the CPU
  • CAN, LIN, USB, and UART communications protocols support and functionality

PIC24 MCUs and dsPIC DSCs (16-bit and DSCs)

The main focus of the 16-bit MCUs and DSCs is the powertrain whether internal combustion, hybrid, or fully electric vehicles. They are designed for dedicated peripherals in motor control and digital power conversion. They are built to withstand the harsh environments of motors and engines running at high temperatures. The units are AEC-Q100 Grade 0 qualified MCUs and DSCs, able to be used for motor control and actuator applications such as oil and water pumps, turbo wastegates and EGR valves.

Key features

  • Digital to Analog Converters (DACs), Analog to Digital Converters (ADCs), Quadrature Encoder interface (QEI), Pulse-Width Modulator (PWM), in motor control peripheral applications
  • DSP engine boosts DSC performance for a higher throughput
  • 250 ps PWMs and high-speed ADCs and DACs, in the digital power peripheral applications
  • CAN, CAN-FD, LIN, USB, and SENT communications support and functionality

32-bit MCUs

To cover the wide range of 32-bit processor cores, including Arm Cortex-M0, -M4, and -M7 cores and the MIPS32 microAptiv core, Microchip offers a broad portfolio for the automotive embedded control systems designers. The suite of 32-bit MUCs covers applications such as infotainment, instrument clusters, Advanced driver Assist Systems (ADAS), and Heads-Up Displays (HUDs).

Key Features include

  • DSP performance coupled with up to 1500 CoreMarks for an unprecedented result
  • CAN, CAN-FD, Hi-Speed USB, and Ethernet-AVB for highly integrated connectivity
  • Robust operating voltage up to 5.5V
  • Hardware-based cryptography, TRNG, SHA-256, encryption and AES-256 engines.

32-bit MPUs

In the coming years, cars will have a wide range of interactive functions, like infotainment, Human-Machin Interfaces, and telematics, that benefit from the uses of automotive-qualified MPUs. When more computing power is necessary, with higher clock speeds, larger amounts of memory and more advanced cybersecurity features an MPU is a clear choice.

Key Features

  • Supports DDR2/3L, LPDDR2, QSPI, and e.MMC Flash, memory options
  • Up to 600MHz core speeds
  • Uses encryption engines, tamper pins, and secure key storage as advanced security features.
  • Up to 13 FLEXCOMs, dual 10/100 Ethernet, CAN, LIN, and Hi-Speed USB connectivity options

For more information on the Microchip technologies microcontroller and microprocessor portfolio designed specifically for automotive applications see the Microchip automotive products page.

Microchip Technologies |

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For the past 8 years, I have been writing about embedded technologies, added to my technical, academic, and medical editorial experience, with companies like Elsevier and Cambridge University Press. I tell people to read what I write, not try to pronounce my last name. I am always available for comments and suggestions you can reach me at and I promise I will take the time to reach back out to you. I live in the North East with my wonderful family.

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Microchip Develops Automobile Grade Microcontrollers and Micropro…

by Stephen Vicinanza time to read: 2 min