LONDON — Microcontroller chip company Microchip Technology Inc. has agreed to provide German automobile maker BMW AG with access to patents covering the use of microcontrollers and microprocessors in battery-monitoring sensors, including conventional 12-volt vehicles. The technology is covered by the name SmartShunt. Microchip (Chandler, Ariz.) acquired the licensed technology as part of the acquisition of PowerSmart in 2002.
Microchip also manufactures semiconductor components used in power sensors, including voltage regulators, memory chips and microcontrollers used to transmit data. The integration of digital components with traditional analog current sensors is the subject of the licensed patents. The terms and conditions of the licensing were not disclosed.
“By making the SmartShunt technology patents available for license, we hope to enable the expanded use of integrated current sensors in all automotive designs. BMW is a leader in the use of this type of sensor, and we expect to see other automakers follow their lead,” said Ganesh Moorthy, vice president of Microchip's Advanced Microcontroller and Memory Division, in a statement.