The HiPer project developed and demonstrated technologies and building blocks for new electrical architectures which ensure sufficient computational and communication power and functionality for safe level-5 autonomous driving. [HiPer]
Background, objectives of the project and challenges
The main deliverable of HiPer is an automotive-grade high-performance vehicle computer system (HPVC) capable of handling level 5 autonomous driving and enabling new electrical architectures which ensure sufficient compute power and the necessary communication interfaces. This means fundamental changes in vehicle technologies with respect to connectivity, computational power, and safety.
This calls for three tightly linked innovation paths and validation activities:
Computation path: tackle the thermal challenges with new highly reliable automotive-grade cooling concepts based on advanced heat-path engineering with integrated spreader and heat-pipe technologies, novel 3D-printed microchannel and direct liquid cooling approaches. The work in this innovation path requires the introduction of new materials and new heat
transfer components and technologies in the vehicle.
Communication electrical connectivity path: develop new HPVC interfaces, that allow a data throughput of more than 10 Gbit/s as required on-board for all timecritical applications. New multi-channel, high-speed connectors, and wiring harness solutions become the future standard in autonomous cars. Furthermore, Ethernet chips, high-speed AD converters, and time-sensitive networking (TSN) protocol suite are developed to increase the quality of service through, for example, high bandwidth, predictable low latency, and prioritisation of data streams.
System integration path: improve HPVC thermomechanical reliability and functional safety in harsh automotive environments, achieving a lifetime of 50,000 hours in contrast to the current 8,800 hours. This includes the development of an innovative mould underfill technology (equipment, process, and simulation); implementation of a low-meltingpoint solder alloy to further increase reliability in the field; the application of new accelerated testing and qualification methods; functional safety by prognostics and health management (PHM); new design for reliability (DfR) simulations; and reliability
concepts developed in intense cooperation with the computational/thermal innovation path.
Automotive Ethernet up to 10 Gbit/s speed – integrated into connector system with high pin density and scalability – is developed. Expected performance is shown by measurements. First, high-speed customer projects are already started with this innovative concept.
A communication demonstrator was built-up to show evidence, that all the developed building blocks work together with the required high-speed performance (Radar, LiDAR sensor, electronic components for Ethernet, Multi-Gig-connector interface, next generation of time-sensitive network communication devices with new analysis tool suite (e.g. routing 1.6x faster). Automotive-grade liquid coolers were designed and manufactured e.g. a new type of 3D printed coolers, vapor chamber, multi-jet impingement, and microchannel cooler. These are now ready for products.
New concepts for miniaturized heat sinks have been developed. These heat sinks have the smallest possible footprint and a small box volume with maximum heat transfer performance and defined pressure loss. A reliable mounting system with rubber springs was implemented for these heat sinks. New algorithmic developments with thermal and mechanical test cases performed, validated in a special automotive-grade test device to prove the performance.
After the HiPer project deeper understanding, guidelines, an automotive-grade test stand, and cooler ranking are available. The right heat path technologies can now be efficiently tailored for products. A modular thin-film thermal test chip was developed and manufactured with improved power density, power homogeneity, & temperature accuracy to gain detailed
knowledge about the component behaviour of GPU/CPUs. In this context, virtual design and new measurement methodology for large area arrays mounted in systems were applied. Solder reliability simulation and validation measurements for low-melting soldered assemblies were also analysed.
First Compact digital twin for thermo-mechanical loading conditions available, which enables hybrid Prognostic Health Management approach and predictive maintenance, 60,0000x faster than FEM simulation, high accuracy > 90%, and 24x computational power needed. HiPer contributes a big step forward e.g. to the target for automatic spare parts ordering in vehicles.
Societal & Economic Impact
It is again to be highlighted that, the HiPer results have provided the needed building blocks to be able to offer real-world self-driving vehicles (‘Autonomous Driving on Level 5 automation’). Apart from the individual benefits for the project partners, European society will massively benefit from Autonomous Driving technologies: reduced numbers of accidents and
fatalities; better deployment of existing road infrastructure through harmonised and increased traffic flows; and a new quality in driving comfort and reduced fuel consumption and emissions. The developed miniaturized high-speed interfaces and the compact cooling system will contribute to the car weight reduction, fulfilling the environmental targets. Europe will also benefit economically from the wealth generated by the continuing success of its automotive industry – in which it has a leading position that must be defended. A deeper understanding of the lifetime behaviour of electronic components with building up digital twins is not only beneficial for safe secure HPVCs. The approaches combined with AI can also be applied in non-automotive business areas e.g. for early warnings or spare part ordering; new services will be enabled that are not even imaginable today.
4 follow-up projects have already started or are planned. The good results and the excellent collaboration have led to the decision that many HiPer project members will work together on this Xecs follow-up project ‘e2 LEAD’. Further topics in highspeed communication, cooling concepts and reliability prediction, digital twins are addressed.
Discover the full Project Impact Summary here.