Toshiba this month announced that it had started sample shipments of the industry’s first automotive grade embedded UFS storage devices for ADAS and infotainment systems. The new eUFS chips offer capacities from 16 GB to 128 GB (with a 256 GB option coming in Q2 2018), can handle extreme temperatures and support numerous features designed to improve their reliability and ensure consistent performance.

The Toshiba eUFS storage devices for automotive applications are based on the company’s proven 128 Gb MLC NAND flash made using 15 nm process technology as well as an in-house developed controller. The devices are compliant with the UFS 2.1 HS-G3 specification, so they use two full-duplex HS-Gear3 lanes with 5.8 GT/s data transfer rate per lane and can offer a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 1200 MB/s. Toshiba does not share actual performance numbers of its eUFS devices (other than saying that sequential read performance of its 64 GB eUFS device is 170% higher than that of its 64 GB eMMC device)  and given that it also does not disclose details about its controller, one can only wonder which of the solid-state storage solutions can actually hit the peak interconnection speed.

Toshiba’s eUFS devices are AEC-Q100 Grade 2 qualified, and can operate in extreme temperatures between -40ºC and 105ºC for prolonged amounts of time. Furthermore, they pack a number of features to improve general reliability and endurance, courtesy to the new controller and some other enhancements. In addition to performing regular NAND management (bad block management, error correction, wear leveling, garbage collection, etc), Toshiba’s eUFS controller monitors such things as P/E cycles endured by the cell, temperature and some other (which Toshiba does not disclose) and reports them to the host processor that may take some actions if needed . For example, if the built-in sensor detects that the temperature of the device exceeds 105ºC, it reports it to the controller, which starts to throttle the device to reduce the temperature and passes the notification to the host SoC for further actions. The controller also automatically performs the “refresh” function to extend data retention by moving data from cell to cell to keep charges at decent levels.

Toshiba Embedded UFS Storage Devices for Automotive Applications
  16 GB 32 GB 64 GB 128 GB 256 GB
NAND Type 128 Gb MLC NAND, 15 nm
Controller Developed in-house
Interface UFS 2.1
two full-duplex HS-Gear3 lanes with 5.8 GT/s per lane
up to 1200 MB/s
Operating Temperatures -40ºC to 105ºC
-40ºF to 221ºF
Qualification AEC-Q100 Grade 2
Health Status Monitor Yes
Data Retention Yes, through "Refresh" feature
Thermal Sensor Yes
Voltage Memory 2.7 V - 3.6 V
Interface 1.7 V - 1.95 V
Package Type FBGA-153 FBGA-169
Width 11.5 mm 12 mm
Length 13 mm 16 mm
Height 1 mm 1.2 mm 1.6 mm
Sample Availability December 2017 Q2 2018

Samples of Toshiba’s eUFS automotive-grade storage devices are available to interested parties. Meanwhile, Toshiba intends to add a 256 GB eUFS solution (based on the same memory and controller) to the lineup sometimes in Q2. Since vehicles take a long time to develop, it will be a while before Toshiba starts commercial shipments of the products.

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Source: Toshiba

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  • Beaver M. - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - link

    The biggest problem is in fact mechanical stress. Just in a different way you imagine. In cars huge temperature differences exist.

    In Summer its hot as hell there and the electronics get even hotter because of their own operation. But if you shut the car down in a garage, the temperature will still drop quite a bit.

    In Winter its very cold but gets pretty warm inside the car when the heater is turned on and the electronics heat themselves up. But if you turn the car off, it will cool down massively and quickly, since few cars are well insulated.

    What I am trying to explain, is that huge temperature change is the culprit. It makes solder connections brittle over time, because they expand and contract with temperature changes. Say you use a normal consumer mainboard in a car (and some have done this - CarPCs), it will show defects after just a few years, if its not a car that you only drive in Summer. Even if its a Summer-car, its still likely it will show problems soon, because youre most likely storing it over the winter, which wont be at Summer temperatures.
    And even in mild climates you will see issues, because the vibrations in a car will affect solder connections as well and the solder connections on a consumer board wont be designed to withstand a lot of vibration.

    And thats why turning electronics on and off is such a huge strain on them. Especially with the relatively new RoHS, which forces manufacturers to use lower quality solder or solder with different properties.

    If you open electronics in older cars (80s and 90s), you will see they have huge solder connections. Thats not because back then they werent able to do finer things, but thats actually to counter what I just explained. Today electronics control everything in a car. Often they use small computer units for everything and everywhere, which are also all interconnected. Those arent soldered like in the 80s or 90s anymore. They are small and its all very tight together. If something loses contact, it can affect things that even engineers cant predict.
    Thats why there are such huge electronic issues with cars nowadays, problems even mechanic shops dont understand and are never able to fix.
  • FullmetalTitan - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - link

    Extreme temperature cycling puts enormous stress on physical components of the package like the interconnects since they are made of different materials and experience processes such as thermal expansion/contraction differently.
    These devices can CERTAINLY survive above and below those temp values, but the qualification is to meet that operating range with very high reliability over the lifetime of a vehicle.
    For consumer electronics, these "burn in" tests are typically to simulate 10 years of normal use as the quality threshold. For automotive there are greater reliability concerns since a failed auto part can lead to a crash, where a failed memory controller on a phone is a bricked device that doesn't kill anyone. Depending on the automotive spec, the testing requirements expand from 10 years to 15 or 20, and the temperature range you must certify safe lifelong operation within expand significantly (there are wider ranges in more strict specs).
  • vortmax2 - Monday, December 18, 2017 - link

    The question is: Will this take some of the lag out of typical car infotainment systems?? I sure hope so.
  • Beaver M. - Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - link

    What lag? You mean the delay after pushing a button?
    Thats by design. Why? I dont know. But Ive seen code of different infotainment systems. They all have artificial delays put in there.

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