Tag Archives: low-power 32-bit microcontroller

32-bit AVR MCUs for automotive applications (Part 1)

Atmel’s AVR low-power 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) provide higher processing performance, improved accuracy and optimized power efficiency for automotive applications. This facilitates implementation of new product-differentiating features such as advanced control algorithms, voice control and capacitive touch sensing.

More specifically, Atmel’s AVR UC3C 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) include a peripheral event system, precision clocking, and high-performance peripherals. Integrated features – such as secure Flash memory, hardware-based safety mechanisms, the ability to interface directly with analog sensors, and a configurable software framework. All of the above helps to significantly accelerate application development.

“Simply put, the difference in efficiency between 32- and 8-/16-bit systems is substantial: a generic 32-bit multiple/accumulate requires four multiplications and four additions on a 16-bit processor with additional overhead for data accessing,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“Thus, a single 32-bit multiplication could require about 20-40 cycles on a 16-bit processor. On a 32-bit UC3C processor this operation requires only a single cycle supported with a 32-bit pipeline for rapid data access. The availability of an integrated FPU also simplifies application development. The implementation of complex algorithms in particular requires less effort and the wider dynamic range maintains the highest precision.”

According to the engineering rep, implementing complex algorithms using 32-bit floating-point instructions not only increases system accuracy and efficiency, but also helps accelerate the development cycle. Indeed, a wide variety of applications can benefit from the use of a floating-point unit, including motor control and audio applications.


“Atmel’s UC3C 32-bit microcontroller instruction set is an efficient mix of 16- and 32-bit instructions that allows C compilers to balance performance and code density. Its architecture has been optimized for managing real-time events common to embedded systems while minimizing processing latency,” the engineering rep continued. “The UC3C microcontroller also includes a wide variety of state-of-the-art peripherals and interfaces – such as CAN and LIN – required by automotive control modules (ECU), while also ensuring reliable operation across the entire automotive temperature range in compliance with the AECQ100 specification.”

Atmel AVR UC3C 32-bit automotive-grade microcontrollers can be powered either by a 3.3V or a 5V supply and generally support 5V I/O. This has been achieved by moving to a modified 0.18-micron process technology, which can support higher I/O voltage levels in a reliable and cost-effective manner without any complex and expensive voltage conversion.

In addition to supporting 5V I/O, the UC3C has been designed with a wide range of high-performance peripherals required by automotive applications, which will we discuss in-depth during part two of this series. Interested in learning more about 32-bit AVR MCUs for automotive applications? Be sure to check out part onetwothree and four of this series.