Test for the Autonomous Age

Move over, Information Age—the Autonomous Age is on its way. In the autonomous age, information is not just copious and accessible, it is integrated into our daily lives to automatically augment human capabilities. In the autonomous age, we expect technology to comprehend and take action.

One of the material drivers of the autonomous age includes integrated circuits (ICs) that can handle every increasing demand for data processing. The ICs that will power autonomous electronic systems, whether in industrial AI systems or autonomous vehicles, present semiconductor designers with unique challenges.

For example, ICs for the autonomous age are very large, complex designs that often use new architectures. They are also designed to be used in applications that have no tolerance for failure in the electronics, like autonomous vehicles.

How will the industry achieve high IC quality, make sure the ICs are manufacturable with acceptable yield, and meet the functional safety requirements for ICs for automotive, medical, industrial, military, and other uses? Also, how can the players in the market shrink IC implementation time in order to be competitive?

Mentor’s DFT, test, and yield experts have defined three key test challenges for ICs in the autonomous age:

  • AI chips – Disruptive compute architectures with demanding time-to-market
  • 3D transistors – Increased transistor complexity creating higher cell defectivity
  • Functional safety – Growth of IC applications where unmitigated faults can cause harm

Janusz Rajski, VP of Engineering in Mentor’s Tessent test group, gave a 40-minute presentation at the 2018 International Test Conference in which he discusses these challenges and describes a few design-for-test techniques that are available today, like RTL-based hierarchical DFT, cell-aware test and diagnosis, tools for functional safety verification, and new runtime testing. Rajski also reveals some areas of research into new technologies at Mentor, including programmable deterministic BIST for FuSa. We recorded him live, and now that video is available to you.

Watch here for an overview of test for the autonomous age from a leading expert in design-for-test.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/tessent/2019/04/23/test-for-the-autonomous-age/