SanDisk Eyes the Connected Car with New Flash Storage Line

By Pedro Hernandez

Having already supplied flash storage solutions for the consumer electronics, PC and the data center markets, SanDisk is now setting its sights on automakers.

The Milpitas, Calif.-based provider of flash chips and solid-state storage devices today announced a new line of automotive-grade (NAND) storage products that are geared toward infotainment systems and other car-based implementations. A new range of solid-state data storage offerings, dubbed simply SanDisk Automotive, is aimed at the growing market for "connected car" solutions.

SanDisk's Drew Henry, senior vice president and general manager of the company's Mobile and Connected Solutions division, said in a statement that flash storage "is enabling dramatic innovation in the auto industry and is expected to transform the car into one of the most connected devices we own. Our vertical integration and deep flash expertise uniquely enables us to architect our automotive grade storage solutions to provide the responsiveness needed to support new and emerging connected applications, as well as offer the reliability and trusted performance that's absolutely critical for the automotive market," continued Henry.

Citing a forecast from Gartner Research, by 2020 SanDisk expects that 250 million wirelessly-connected vehicles will take to the world's roadways, or roughly 20 percent of all automobiles. Those cars and trucks will require fast on-board storage for responsive, load-in-a-blink apps.

The company is already working with "leading automotive chipset vendors" to incorporate its flash storage technology with the latest automotive tech, revealed SanDisk. Richard Robinson, director of Strategy Analytics' Global Automotive Practice, noted in a statement that in-car tech is becoming as important as 0-60 and MPG ratings for car manufacturers, if not more so.

In prepared remarks, Robinson stated that "that tier 1 auto makers will no longer just compete on the road-performance, comfort and gas mileage they offer, but also the infotainment and connected car experiences they deliver to drivers." Brisk performance and generous capacities make flash "the ideal storage medium," he added.

SanDisk Automotive kicks off with two products, a SanDisk SD card and an iNAND embedded flash drive (EFD), with capacities of up to 64 gigabytes (GB). Both are being designed and built to withstand the rigors of life on the road.

According to the company, the new SD cards and iNAND EFDs can survive temperature ranges of -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit) to 85 degrees Celsius (-185 degrees Fahrenheit). They support up to two user partitions and dual boot scenarios and also feature "enhanced power immunity."

SanDisk's new SD cards and EFDs meet the qualifications of the Automotive Electronics Council's AEC-Q100 stress tests for car electronics. The EFD provides sequential read and write speeds of 30 megabytes per second and 120 megabytes per second, respectively, and meets the eMMC 4.51 HS200 specification for embedded memory devices.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on February 02, 2015