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Samsung Begins Production of 256GB eUFS Storage for Automotive Applications

Samsung Begins Production of 256GB eUFS Storage for Automotive Applications

Author: Eric Walz   

Electronics giant Samsung first formed an automotive team back in 2015 to offer components to car makers, including displays, batteries and memory chips. Now, the company has announced that it has started mass production of eUFS 2.1-compatible storage devices for automotive applications.

The new 256GB devices support select UFS (universal flash storage) 3.0 features for automotive applications, and are qualified to operate in extreme temperature ranges and offer performance levels on par with today's smartphones.

"With the new temperature threshold for automobile warranties, major automotive manufacturers can now design-in memory that's even well suited for extreme environments and know they will be getting highly reliable performance," said Kyoung Hwan Han, vice president of NAND marketing at Samsung Electronics. "Starting with high-end vehicles, we expect to expand our business portfolio across the entire automotive market, while accelerating growth in the premium memory segment."

This new type of memory was designed for applications for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), dashboard systems, and infotainment usage, Samsung said. The eUFS storage has a read speed of up to 850 megabytes (MB) per second and a random reading speed of 45,000 input/output operations per second.

Connected or autonomous vehicles in the future will need plenty of storage, including the ability to connect to cloud-based servers for autonomous diving and connecting to other vehicles and structures. For example, a fully automated vehicle with a vast array of sensors, will be capable of generating 4,000 GB of data per day.

Samsung's new 256GB eUFS device is based on the company's planar MLC NAND flash memory produced using a 10 nanometer (10 nm) class process technology as well as a proprietary UFS 2.1 controller supporting data refresh and temperature notification capabilities

Both technologies are a part of the UFS 3.0 specification introduced last month and both are supported by Samsung's 64GB and 128 GB eUFS products for automotive applications as well as by competing devices.

Samsung's AEC-Q100 Grade 2 compliant 256GB eUFS chip is guaranteed to retain data and operate in extreme temperature conditions — between -40°C and 105°C. Such operating ranges ensure that a vehicle's ADAS and infotainment systems powered by Samsung's latest eUFS device can survive cold winters, as well as Iran's Lut desert, where temperatures can reach 70° celsius (159° F).

The storage has an integrated thermal sensor, so when its temperature hits the maximum level (or any pre-set level), the storage device will notify the host application processor (AP), which in turn will regulate the processor's clock speed (frequency) to lower the operating temperature.

Performance of Samsung's eUFS 256GB device for automotive applications is at the high-end of the UFS 2.1 spec and can deliver up to 850 MB/s sequential read speed as well as up to 45K random read IOPS.

However, Samsung does not disclose all performance and any endurance specs of its eUFS 256GB device, but the existing figures are in-line with performance of storage solutions for today's smartphones as well as with entry-level PCIe SSDs.

Meanwhile, Samsung says that its refresh capability that relocates data from cell to cell to keep charges at sufficient levels to extend data retention also has a positive effect on performance as host processors do not have to extensively use read retry operation because of lower amount of read errors.

Samsung has already started to ship its 256GB eUFS 2.1-compliant devices to its automotive partners working on next-generation ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), infotainment systems, and dashboards. Samsung does not name the respective manufacturers, but claims that the 256GB UFS 2.1 will first be used for high-end, luxury vehicles.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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