In today’s electronics, IP subsystems play a significant and increasingly complex part of the design equation. While IP is continuously increasing in complexity due to the market’s demand for an ever-increasing number of features, their number per SoC also has been increasing.
To assist automotive IC designers, IP providers such as Synopsys actively collaborate with their customers to address more than just the simple IP blocks. By engaging at the subsystem level, all parties can consider hierarchical elements such as traceability and observability and understand complex scenarios such as clock domain crossing issues, reset domains, power management, testability, etc. In addition, the IP provider can offer options that will help the designer meet their safety goals.
Observability is a functional requirement of error recovery or reset to meet a design’s safety goals. By adding functionality such as debug, performance monitors, and watch dog timers in the IP subsystem, the SoC or the system software can decide on the best mediating action when a fault occurs that requires recovery to a safe state. Often this can enhance the possibility of graceful recovery or local reset where the rest of the system is not affected. Other opportunities to leverage observability are measuring performance or fine tuning performance to make sure the needs of the complete system are met either in different systems or different operating modes.
For automotive designs, documentation is critical. From safety documentation to test plans, checks for linting errors, Clock-Domain Crossing (CDC) and Reset Domain Crossing (RDC), thorough documentation helps ensure that the implementation is clear and more seamless. When running required checks on the final SoC, the SoC engineer has these documents as reference should any questions arise about the IP subsystem implementation.
When building IP subsystems for automotive applications, the IP provider will first want to fully understand the customer requirements to help assure that integration, testing, and integrity checks go smoothly all the way to tape out. Experts in the IP with a system understanding engage with customers at all technical levels to ensure their SoC requirements are met, and evaluate what is needed beyond documentation to reach the required levels of safety.