Xilinx Zynq programmable SoCs run motor-sport ECUs

July 25, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Xilinx has disclosed that Bosch Motorsport based in Abstatt, Germany, is using Xilinx Zynq-7000 All Programmable devices in its latest engine ECU (Engine Control Unit) processing core called HEL (High Efficiency Logic).

The HEL based ECUs are plugged into the LMP1 race cars of a German OEM participating in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The performance and robustness of the Zynq SoC-based Bosch-ECU helped the race team to take podium positions multiple times, with first place at every race of the season so far: “6 Hours of Silverstone” race in April 2013, “6 Hours of Spa” race in May 2013, and at the “24 Hours of Le Mans”, the premium event of the World Endurance Championship.

The HEL based ECU developed by Bosch is responsible for the complete Diesel engine management including multi-point injection and pressure control. Besides collecting engine data, the ECU also provides functions such as pit lane speed limiter and traction control.

A Xilinx Zynq-7020 All Programmable SoC (System-on-a-Chip) which contains a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processing system is the heart of the ECU. Whereas most control algorithms are running sequentially on the ARM cores, the programmable logic part of the Zynq device is used for parallel acquisition of the engine data and interfacing to other subsystems via PWM, RS-232, LIN, CAN or Ethernet, real time critical signal-processing and IO-controls.

“The versatile architecture of the Zynq devices allows us to react to change requests fast,” says Markus Kirchner, Group Leader Hardware Development at Bosch Motorsport. “Re-using certain IP blocks also shortened the development time dramatically,” Kirchner adds. Bosch had already used an FPGA in the previous platform, but the combination with a discrete microcontroller could not meet the performance requirements for the new system. The new Zynq-based ECU provides lower power consumption, yet delivers more than twice the performance in a small footprint.

Bosch Motorsport is about to make further use of the flexibility and scalability of the Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC technology. This Zynq-based board will also be used as a processing platform for other applications. Plans exist to use it for gasoline engine controls in other