Atmel Launches Secure, Ultra-low Power AES-128 AVR MCU With Immobilizer for Car Key Fob Applications

Increased battery life based on best-in-class current consumption

Sep 28, 2011, 08:00 ET from Atmel Corporation

HEILBRONN, Germany, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Atmel® Corporation (NASDAQ: ATML), a leader in microcontroller and touch solutions, today announced availability of a new ultra-low power AVR® microcontroller (MCU) with AES-128 immobilizer protocol stack. The Atmel ATA5790N includes LF immobilizer functionality and a 3D LF receiver in a single 5mm x 7mm package. When combined with the companion device ATA5830 RF transmitter, the Atmel ATA5790N is ideal for high-volume uni- and bi-directional car key fobs for passive entry and passive start systems.

The AVR microcontroller provides 16k Flash and 2k EEPROM. Within the 16k Flash, 14kB is available for the application software, while 2kB is available for the immobilizer functionality. The core is surrounded by specific hardware accelerators which allows for an implementation of any immobilizer protocol in the software without the typical current consumption impact.

The Atmel ATA5790N offers the lowest current consumption in the industry, with a listening mode of less than 4.5 microampere. Lower current consumption can extend the battery life significantly for car key fobs. The 3D LF RSSI measurement with maximum sensitivity allows for a quick and accurate key fob localization.

"Consumers don't want to change a key fob battery often or have unexpected surprises when the battery on the fob dies," said Nicolas Schieli, senior marketing manager for car access products, Atmel Corporation. "The Atmel ATA5790N solves this problem by offering ultra-low power technology to extend the battery life of a key fob. This feature enables designers to create end products with ultimate performance and low power in next-generation key fobs."

The built-in AES-128 cryptographic engine, along with the Atmel protocol stack, provides maximum security protection with fast authentication time which is critical to immobilizer systems. As an open-source solution, AES-128 encryption is far more secure than competitive proprietary solutions since peer reviewing increases fault detection.

In addition, the Atmel AES-128 immobilizer protocol stack is the first open source stack to allow interoperability between different semiconductor vendors. With current conventional solutions, the necessary communication protocol layers are closed source or patented, which prevents car manufacturers from adopting multi-vendor sourcing strategies. This convention method also leads to lock-in situations that are counterproductive when quality problems arise.

The ATA5790N is a new member of Atmel's broad family of transmitter, receiver and transceiver devices for car access applications. This enables designers to create complete system solutions with devices that provide a perfect combination. The same software and tools can be used, thus increasing the ease-of-use and reducing the overall time-to-market.

Availability and Pricing

Samples of the ATA5790N are now available in 5mm x 7mm QFN38 packages. Pricing starts at $1.80 USD for 10,000-piece quantities. To simplify and accelerate product development, the device hosts the application code in Flash and is supported by the standard AVR development tool chain (automotive-grade C compiler and AVR Studio® IDE). Additionally, a remote keyless entry development kit (ATAPMxxxx) with several daughter boards provides complete reference designs for both hardware and software.

About Atmel

Atmel Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, capacitive touch solutions, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on industrial, consumer, communications, computing and automotive markets.

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SOURCE Atmel Corporation