Toshiba Unveils New Simulation Technology Accu-ROM to Reduce Semiconductor Verification Time
Toshiba has recently developed a new model-based development (MBD) simulation technology that can reportedly reduce verification times for automotive semiconductors by roughly 90 percent.
Dubbed Accu-ROM, the solution was designed to enable automotive equipment developers to evaluate designs faster using Toshiba’s automotive semiconductors.
Additional applications will include industrial equipment and home appliances.
Early Accu-ROM tests showing verification times for simulation of three-phase inverter circuits installed in an automotive electric power steering system (during a right turn with a duration of six seconds). Image used courtesy of Toshiba.
Model-based Development Simulation
From a technical standpoint, MBD is a software-based development methodology that simulates models and evaluates performance in real-time.
The technology was originally introduced in the industry to keep up with the increasingly advanced complexity of automotive equipment, as electric vehicles (EVs) and their advanced driver-assistance systems become more widespread.
MDB essentially separates components’ functions into blocks and then verifies total vehicle behavior by connecting each block.
In addition, having detailed simulation models that include the behavior of semiconductors in specific blocks enables the observation of heat and electromagnetic interference (EMI), which are crucial parameters for estimating the performance of automotive equipment.
Despite the usefulness of traditional MBD technologies, however, as models become more detailed and precise, verification times are growing longer.
Helping Engineers Design Faster
Now, Toshiba’s new solution aims to help product developers refine complex design processes further and faster, thanks to Accu-ROM’s features enabling design and verification prior to making prototypes.
For context, the company’s previous simulation technology could reportedly simulate semiconductor-based electronic circuits and their mechanical components, gears, and shafts on a microsecond basis.
However, the technology was also technically complicated, as it was based on the SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis) model.
While extremely useful, SPICE needs to define over 100 parameters for the simulation of semiconductor behavior, making the overall process potentially slower.
Toshiba’s New Simulation Technology
To circumvent these technical issues, Accu-ROM separately calculates the electronic circuits and the mechanical components.
The technology firstly verifies the mechanical components, then simplifies the model for mechanical components. Only at the end of the process it verifies the total system and its electric circuits.
By doing so, Accu-ROM eliminates unnecessary calculations, and in evaluating the electric circuits, the model automatically generates a Very High speed integrated circuit Hardware Description Language-Analog Mixed Signal (VHDL-AMS) model from the SPICE model.
The VHDL-AMS model, in turn, allows the verification range to be limited to essential parameters like heat and EMI noise, thus shortening the verification time.
Early tests with the technology have shown the verification of a power steering system with Toshiba’s previous technology takes 32 hours 51 minutes, with 3 hours 27 minutes recorded using Accu-ROM.
Moving forward, Toshiba said it will use Accu-ROM to promote the development of high-heat dissipation and low noise automotive semiconductors, as well as semiconductors for other applications, including industrial equipment and home appliances.