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Hybrid car engines represent an extreme environment for electronics: High-performance, high-speed, durable designs are required to handle the hostile environments, high voltages, and control requirements of the motor drives. Since motor control systems are necessarily low-voltage systems, the high-voltage motor drive (HVMD) and low-voltage-control (LVC) sections are traditionally connected through photo-couplers. Unfortunately, these have an expensive per unit cost and relatively low speeds (1 Mb/s).

At Taiwan’s National Changhua University, Kyujin Oh, Swaminathan Sankaran, Hsin-Ta Wu, and Jau-Jr Lin designed a full-duplex crystalless CMOS transceiver with an on-chip antenna using the UMC-130 nm CMOS process. These devices would allow for communication of vital engine data like temperature and faults from the HVMD and LVC, all the while protecting the LVC from any high-voltage conditions. The potential for lower costs—as well as for higher data rates of hundreds of  over 400 Mb/s—could make this integrated approach a feasible cost and performance solution for hybrid car motor control. See “Full-Duplex Crystalless CMOS Transceiver With an On-Chip Antenna for Wireless Communication in a Hybrid Engine Controller Board,” IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, June 2013, p. 1327.

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