SEMA – Joint Laboratory on Embedded Systems for Autonomous Mobility


With the electrification of transportation providing a response to the need to reduce carbon emissions, and the emergence of autonomous vehicles, the issue of safety for power electronics on board electric vehicles is becoming a key concern. The power supply to electric actuators, but also to on-board computers currently providing driving assistance and eventually replacing the driver himself, is becoming a critical function that must be guaranteed unconditionally.


To tackle this challenge, the LAPLACE lab and NXP, a world leader in secure connection solutions for embedded applications, are creating the joint lab SEMA (Systèmes Embarqués pour la Mobilité Autonome) on February 3rd 2020. SEMA is a CNRS ingénierie LCOM-type structure.

Missions and research topics
SEMA’s mission involves: the study, design and early development of high-performance power electronics for the electric and autonomous vehicles of the future.

Its scientific topics are:

  • Topologies of embedded static converters and power integration
  • Safety & Fault tolerance
  • Robustness & Predictive reliability
  • Agile power distribution (optimised power management in electric vehicles)


The aim of SEMA is to bring together research teams from LAPLACE and NXP’s integrated system design teams to address the issue of the safety of power electronics in autonomous electric vehicles.

The project involves:

  • 11 full researchers/teachers-researchers and 1 study engineer in LAPLACE,
  • 12 engineers et 5 technicians from NXP.

The total estimated cost over a 4-year period is 3M€.
SEMA involves 3 sites with between 100 and 500 people in the Toulouse area

  • LAPLACE UT3 site,
  • NXP Basso-Cambo site .

The two entities, academic and industrial, make resources available to SEMA on their respective sites, resources dedicated to:

  • Design: CAD facilities and tools, licences for simulation/design tools, expertise in electronic chip/power converter design,
  • Development: SMARTMOS technology runs, static converters, electronic boards,
  • Assembly: wafer cutting, encapsulation, bonding, NXP support & 3DPhi platform,
  • Characterisation: lab instrumentation and characterisation bench.


Today, SEMA organises its research activities into several working groups (WG) involving researchers from LAPLACE and also from LAAS-CNRS.

  • WP1: Active gate driver – DES (NXP) & CS (LAPLACE) teams
  • WP2: Power Management & Functional Safety – SPM, FS (NXP) & CS (LAPLACE) teams
  • WP3: EMC of integrated circuits for electrical autonomous vehicle – teams EMC-ESD (NXP) & ESE (LAAS)


Marc COUSINEAU / Scientific Head of SEMA / Assistant Professor in Toulouse INP-ENSEEIHT, Static Converters (CS) team in LAPLACE,

Jean-Luc CHARLET / Executive Head of SEMA / Drivers & Energy Systems R&D Manager chez NXP /