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Latest Additions to Freescale Tower System Accelerate Development of Automotive Electronic Systems

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SHENZHEN, China--August 30, 2011: Freescale Semiconductor today announced new automotive sensor modules for its popular Tower System development platform. The new modules are designed to help engineers rapidly design and build innovative automotive applications, such as airbags, electronic stability control, electric parking brakes, tilt angle measurement and engine control systems.

“The new automotive sensor modules for Freescale's Tower System provide engineers with ready-to-use tools and software that help reduce development time for automotive systems”

The Tower System automotive sensor development kit combines 8-bit microcontrollers (MCUs), micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)-based sensors and analog products into a single stand-alone development board. The kit supports the full range of Freescale Xtrinsic automotive sensors.

Automotive sensors are employed in vehicles to improve performance and comfort as well as to enhance safety. According to research firm IHS iSuppli, the global demand for automotive MEMS-based sensors will rise significantly in 2012 as vehicle production increases and safety system mandates go into effect for regions including North America, Australia, Europe, Japan and China.

"The new automotive sensor modules for Freescale's Tower System provide engineers with ready-to-use tools and software that help reduce development time for automotive systems," said Seyed Paransun, vice president and general manager of Freescale's Sensor & Actuator Solutions Division. "We're extending our automotive MEMS leadership by delivering easy-to-use, affordable development tools that encourage innovative design."

The Tower System is a trusted development platform for sensor programming that goes beyond simple device evaluation. It features a comprehensive and highly customizable embedded design environment that allows developers to mix and match MCU and peripheral boards to create reconfigurable development platforms that suit their design needs. Interchangeable modules promote reuse of hardware across multiple architectures, and the modular design scales down overall tool costs, while providing an inexpensive entry point.

Advanced sensor modules

The Tower System automotive sensors development kit includes a full range of interchangeable sensors modules:

  • Low-g XY accelerometer (MMA6900)
  • Medium-g XY accelerometer (MMA6500/MMA6800)
  • High-g X and Z sensors with PSI5 protocol (MMA5000)
  • High-g X and Z sensors with DSI protocol (MMA1600/MMA2600)
  • Development boards for PSI5 (MC33789) and DSI (MC33781) communication protocols

In addition, the Tower System for automotive sensors development kit has an on-board S08 8-bit MCU with 6K of RAM and 96K of flash memory. The open-source background debug mode (OSBDM) allows each board to serve as a standalone debug tool.

About the Freescale Tower System

The Freescale Tower System is a modular development platform that helps developers quickly prototype and evaluate their applications. Designers can choose from a growing ecosystem of controller and peripheral modules. Simply select the development boards (modules) with the needed features and functionality, and combine them to build a Tower System. In addition, standardized, open-source hardware allows Freescale customers and partners to design additional modules for added functionality and customization. Online training, videos, webcast, technical documentation and application notes are available at

Pricing and availability

Individual automotive sensor modules compatible with the Tower System main board can be purchased ranging from $20-$90 (USD) MSRP. Technical documentation, firmware and schematics for all plug-in modules are available at

About Freescale Semiconductor

Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing and sales operations around the world.

About the Freescale Technology Forum

Created to drive innovation and collaboration, the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) has become the developer event of the year for the embedded systems industry. The Forum has drawn more than 40,000 attendees at FTF events worldwide since its inception in 2005.

Freescale and the Freescale logo are trademarks of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Xtrinsic is a trademark of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners. 2011 Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.