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   Date: 20th July 2010

DIANA to research on improving electronics capabilities in automotives

AUDI AG, Continental AG, Infineon AG, ZMD AG and Infineon have come together to start the DIANA research project. This project headed by Infineon will be researching ways to improve the analytic and diagnostic capabilities of electronic control units (ECU) in motor vehicles. Through to 2013, the four partners will work on ways to make error detection more precise and faults easier to rectify for automakers and repair shops. The project partners will be assisted by several research organizations and universities.

"DIANA" is a German acronym that translates as "end-to-end diagnostic capabilities in semiconductor components and systems for analyzing persistent and sporadic errors in automobiles". The project is to receive roughly Euro 4.8 million in support from Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the government's high-tech strategy and Information and Communications Technology 2020 program (IKT 2020). Automobiles and mobility have been defined as two of the key focuses of IKT 2020 with the aim of improving the robustness of automotive electronics.

To achieve project goals, the quality control measures that are currently employed in the semiconductor industry will be applied to the automobile as a system. This will enable relevant information on possible malfunctions occurring during operation to be retrieved directly from the semiconductor components and reported to higher-level system components in an ECU. The ECU can then process the operating data collected for diagnostic purposes to inform the driver on the status of the vehicle and provide mechanics in repair shops with a detailed diagnostic report. This kind of end-to-end diagnostic capability, which has not been implemented in cars as yet, will require close collaboration along the entire automotive-industry value chain, from semiconductor manufacturers to the suppliers of electronic control systems and automobile makers.

The outcomes of the DIANA project will be incorporated into automotive electronics products from 2015. If the test routines prove a success in motor vehicles, they can be employed in other areas of application where safety is critical.

The four project partners will be assisted by a number of research organizations and universities based in Germany: the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Dresden, the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich, and the Universities of Cottbus, Erlangen-Nuremberg, and Stuttgart.

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