Storage // Memory

The Future Direction of Auto Storage

By Chris Bueb - 2018-05-31

As the need for non-volatile storage capacity increases with more advanced applications in Automotive IVI and ADAS systems, the market is migrating from eMMC to UFS or SSDs. UFS follows the migration path of mobile storage devices, but SSDs have become an attractive alternative for automotive storage devices.

One of the obstacles for SSD adoption has been boot capability. In traditional systems that use SSDs, boot-from-SSD was not necessary, and fast power-on-to-ready was not a priority. But times have changed. With the introduction of NVMe version 1.3A a standardized boot solution is now supported for PCIe based SSD. SSDs have also been making their way into very compact, low-cost embedded systems. The PCIe/NVMe boot solution is emerging while the available form-factor options have been shrinking to include micro-BGA also known as BGA SSD.

With boot capability on PCIe, the second consideration is boot speed. Both UFS and PCIe use low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) so link synchronization training is required before boot code can be read, which can add to the boot time. But in an embedded system with short bus connections, there is flexibility to optimally tune the PCIe device to the SOC host. This embedded system architecture allows the power-on to first data to occur nearly as fast as non-LVDS devices such as eMMC. For PCIe, the power-on-to-OS load is faster because the interface speed of PCIe is faster. This speed improvement becomes more pronounced as the amount of system software increases, which seems to be the trend for future automotive IVI and ADAS systems.

With the boot capability of PCIe, it can now replace eMMC/UFS without the need for an additional NOR device for boot. The faster interface and reduced software stack makes PCIe a contender for future embedded systems requiring 64GB of storage or higher.

With over 28 years’ commitment to the automotive market and as a recognized industry leader in DRAM memory, Micron’s LPDDR4 products offer high densities, high bandwidth and discrete design to simplify system integration and meet the demands of high-performance automotive applications.

Discover more about Micron's Automotive Solutions here.

Amit Gattani

Chris Bueb