We anticipate 2020 to be a year of momentum when more companies add more technology capabilities to their electronic systems, enabled by advancements in analog and embedded processing products. Semiconductor technologies are helping engineers solve design challenges in industrial and automotive designs – and we especially see several trends in automation, vehicle electrification and smart cities.
Automation at the edge
The future of intelligent machines for smart factories is getting exciting thanks to innovation occurring at the edge. More applications are adding real-time sensing and processing to help make decision-making more dynamic. Take industrial robotic systems for example. They rely on sensors that generate a large volume of highly varied data that can use machine learning to make real-time decisions quickly.
Advancements in electronics are helping engineers design autonomous guided vehicles that better understand what’s happening in a controlled environment on the factory floor – and not solely depend on processing information in the cloud.
Advancements in human-machine collaboration in factories also increase the need for functional safety, more granular control and a higher level of communications. Government regulations are also requiring manufacturers to meet stricter requirements for energy efficiency at the system level, and these will require the latest power management and motor control drivers to deliver more power more efficiently.
One of the biggest design challenges today in the automotive space is to engineer a more efficient electric vehicle with zero emissions and larger battery capacities and longer ranges, while at the same time adding more advanced electronics and features. The move to 48-volt systems and larger battery capacities (some supporting up to 800 V) will require intelligent battery management electronics to monitor and protect the system, while reducing the size and weight of the battery. New power management integrated circuits and microcontrollers that support wide-bandgap materials such as GaN and SiC will be able to support higher-voltage operation in the powertrain and on-board charging system.
As the number of electric vehicles increases, there is a need to create more advanced charging infrastructure systems throughout Europe and in other regions that can charge vehicles faster and more efficiently.
Electronics are helping smart cities get smarter in many areas – from intelligent transportation systems to retail automation to a more efficient grid.
Populations across Europe have an expectation of having access to energy, anytime and anywhere. In order to continue to deliver on that promise, it will require significant and highly efficient technologies to create a more dynamically managed grid where energy is stored, re-distributed and shared in an intelligent way. One example of this is the adoption of multi-level inverter designs with highly efficient power management semiconductors and embedded processors which are helping utilities manage and deliver energy more efficiently to more people.
As we apply more intelligent automation features to machines and devices in factories, there is an opportunity to apply automation at the edge when it comes to the energy grid. Manufacturers are using the best sensing technologies used in smart electricity meters to develop flow meters for water, gas and other chemical meters to detect leaks, converse resources and more efficiently manage the transmission of those resource – potentially saving millions of dollars to companies and cities and countries and improving the quality of life for everyone. New battery management integrated circuits will lead to breakthroughs in battery-based energy storage systems for the grid, but also lead to advancements in battery packs used for e-bikes, e-motorcyles and robotics. There also is a growing effort by utility makers to more effectively manage and store energy sources such as solar and wind.
is vice president of Texas Instruments’ (TI) Systems Engineering and Marketing organization. His team provides system design expertise based on understanding of engineers’ design challenges to help electronics designers and manufacturers get their products to market faster. Keith’s team takes advantage of TI’s comprehensive analog and embedded processing product portfolio to develop reference designs and design solutions that solve customers’ system-level challenges. Keith’s responsibilities include TI’s industrial systems, automotive systems, pricing, business analytics and strategic marketing.
Keith has held several leadership roles throughout his career which includes industrial and automotive expertise in both analog and embedded processing. Most recently, he was the vice president and general manager of TI’s Interface Products business responsible for designing, manufacturing, and marketing wired connectivity solutions such as transceivers, high voltage isolation, and analog switches and multiplexers.
He has been with TI for over 16 years, beginning his career as an applications engineer and technical sales associate before he was a product marketing manager in the microcontrollers business, and led teams such as the C2000 real-time controllers and motor drives with a focus on broad and industrial markets.
Keith earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech as well as a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Morehouse College. He currently serves on the board for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech.