Innovations for a more connected world: An interview with Matthias Feulner and Neal Kondel of NXP

NXP Semiconductors  displayed its latest innovations across the automotive, smart/autonomous home and IoT segments at CES 2024 in LA. REM talked to Matthias Feulner, Senior Director ADAS (for automotive answers) and Neal Kondel, Director, Product Marketing for Smart Home, Wireless Connectivity Solutions (for smart home responses).    
Innovations for a more connected world: An interview with Matthias Feulner and Neal Kondel of NXP
Matthias Feulner (left) and Neal Kondel (right) of NXP Semiconductors.

Can you tell me a bit more about NXP and what it does?

NXP Semiconductors brings together bright minds to create breakthrough technologies that make the connected world better, safer and more secure. As a world leader in secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications, NXP is pushing boundaries in the automotive, industrial & IoT, mobile, and communication infrastructure markets while delivering solutions that advance a more sustainable future. We design purpose-built, rigorously tested technologies that enable devices to sense, think, connect and act intelligently to improve people's daily lives.

Can you tell me more about Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and what it does?

ADAS systems enhance road safety and provide for a more comfortable driving experience. This includes NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) safety functions, such as emergency braking and blind-spot detection, as well as advanced ADAS and autonomous driving applications, including advanced comfort features for SAE levels 2+ and 3 like traffic jam assist, highway pilot and park assist, front and rear cross-traffic alerts, lateral and rear collision avoidance.

What automotive solution to enable ADAS are you about to launch and how will it help to move the EV sector onwards?

The new SAF86xx monolithically integrates a high-performance radar transceiver, a multi-core radar processor and a MACsec hardware engine for state-of-the-art secure data communication over Automotive Ethernet. Combined with NXP’s S32 high-performance processors, vehicle network connectivity and power management, the full system solution paves the way for advanced, software-defined radar.

The new radar SoC is intended for streaming rich low level radar sensor data at up to 1 Gbit/s data rate and helps carmakers optimise next-generation ADAS partitioning for software-defined vehicles (SDV), while providing for a smooth transition to new architectures. Additionally, OEMs will be able to easily introduce new software-defined radar features during the lifetime of the vehicle through Over-the-Air (OTA) updates.

EVs in particular are often equipped with/marketed via their advanced safety and comfort functions and thus tend to fall into L2+/L3 SAE autonomy level categories where advanced ADAS sensor suites are required, which is perfectly matching the use cases enabled by the new SAF86xx system solution: 360-degree surround sensing, more accurate detection and mapping of the vehicles as well as software-defined vehicle features.

With regards to smart homes, please explain the concept of autonomy in a smart home, what it entails, what devices it will it utilise and how it will help to make homes more energy efficient and drive down bills and greenhouse gas emissions?

Today’s so-called “smart homes” make it easier to configure and control our living spaces, but they’re not very smart. Sure, we can now use our voice to turn on the lights, and we can tap a smartphone app to program the thermostat. We can even define simple rule-based functions, like “turn the hall lights on when the front door opens,” but we’re still selecting and specifying every device action and every device response.

Autonomy represents the next transformational stage. Moving from a Smart Home to an Autonomous home will finally achieve a decades-old vision. We’ll finally be able to monitor and control our homes as true, integrated systems - rather than simply managing individual domains like lighting, HVAC, security, and entertainment. And, while some advanced smart-home products may already use AI or ML to automate individual products or domains, whole-home orchestration will do more, using a combination of such capabilities as spatial awareness, interoperability, seamless connectivity, advanced security, broader visibility, and increased control across all home products and applications.

As the smart home shifts to the autonomous home, we’ll be able to use energy more efficiently and more effectively control energy costs. Home energy “microgrid” controllers, combined with home energy storage solutions, will securely connect all the devices in the home to the cloud and apply the edge analytics and machine learning enabled by the autonomous home. This will allow microgrid controllers to combine the information collected from the different devices in the home with the information in the cloud – such as the price of energy right now or the weather forecast for tomorrow – to intelligently and autonomously optimize the way the home stores and consumes energy, decreasing energy bills for the homeowner and increasing the home’s overall efficiency.

In this regard, what devices are you planning to introduce and how will these help move the concept of an autonomous home forward?

The NXP ‘Autonomous Home’ Experience will showcase the next stage in intelligent living and will highlight how the convergence of our latest solutions and technologies are enabling this bright future. NXP, along with our industry partners, is pioneering advances in safer and healthier living, energy efficiency, immersive and personalized entertainment, digital privacy, device security, and more. Together, we are not only advancing what’s possible, but we’re also making the home a better, safer, more enjoyable place to be.

The autonomous home starts with a Matter network, which we’ll be showcasing our booth at CES. Using an NXP i.MX 93 applications processor combined with our industry-first tri-radio, visitors will see how different platforms can embed full local Matter control into devices already commonly associated with the Smart Home or adjacent to it, such as speakers, security panels, smart plug, in-vehicle display, etc. From there, visitors will see autonomous home experiences, such as our intelligent cooktop, which utilizes an MCX N microcontroller to compare the presence of a cook in the kitchen with the temperature of the stove and autonomously adjust the temperature as needed. Similarly, NXP’s UWB technology and machine learning provides intelligent user identification, presence detection, and real-time positioning to enable the autonomous interactions with devices functioning in the home experience.  This further extends to an immersive 3D-audio solution, showcased at CES, that uses presence detection and spatial audio mapping to deliver an audio experience unique to an individual’s position within the room.

At CES 2024, NXP will also be showcasing Honeywell’s advanced building management system, designed to provide flexible, demand-led control to deliver tangible energy spending reductions, while driving new levels of functionality and efficiency in today’s buildings.

How affordable are these devices likely to be once they enter the market?

The smart home market today has a wide range of price points, ranging from entry-level to premium devices. While we expect that trend to continue as the market shifts towards the autonomous home, it’s important to note that the underlying technology enabling the autonomous home is and will be designed with affordability in mind. As semiconductor capabilities continue to advance, NXP has focused on delivering advanced integration and new capabilities in the same form factors and targeting similar price points to advance the autonomous home. In fact, many devices in smart homes today are capable of the type of autonomous intelligence we’re talking about.

How close are we to autonomy in both the EV sector and with regard to residences?

For residences, we’re practically already there. We’re already seeing these capabilities in the hardware. In fact, in other, related markets such as smart buildings and smart cities, these capabilities are already enabled and working to improve the functionality, usability and efficiency of smart buildings. For example, Honeywell’s building management controllers, in conjunction with their Forge cloud technology, already serve this purpose for commercial buildings, providing efficient and reliable control alongside secure and reliable connectivity, which is what we’ll soon see in resident energy microgrid controllers.

For additional information:

NXP Semiconductors

Baterías con premio en la gran feria europea del almacenamiento de energía
El jurado de la feria ees (la gran feria europea de las baterías y los sistemas acumuladores de energía) ya ha seleccionado los productos y soluciones innovadoras que aspiran, como finalistas, al gran premio ees 2021. Independientemente de cuál o cuáles sean las candidaturas ganadoras, la sola inclusión en este exquisito grupo VIP constituye todo un éxito para las empresas. A continuación, los diez finalistas 2021 de los ees Award (ees es una de las cuatro ferias que integran el gran evento anual europeo del sector de la energía, The smarter E).