NEC Electronics America, Inc. (NEC Electronics America), a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC Electronics Corporation (NEC Electronics), has signed a distribution agreement with VaST. The agreement is to distribute VaST virtualization technology with advanced automotive 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) products. This agreement goes beyond NEC Electronics’ MCU model availability and includes sales and distribution of VaST electronics virtualization tools by the company to its customers.

The agreement is a quantum leap forward in an effort that VaST undertook almost two years ago to fundamentally change how electronic systems are developed in the automotive industry. Beginning in May 2007, VaST instituted a series of partnerships to deliver system and processor models to several electronics suppliers and original equipment manufacturers. The earlier announced availability of NEC Electronics’ V850-based MCU models was an important first step.

This agreement equips NEC Electronics America with leading virtualization tools that allow end customers to develop software for NEC Electronics microcontroller-based systems in a more productive and cost-effective manner than conventional methods. NEC Electronics America’s sales team will improve its tools offering to showcase and sell its leading MCU products and, in turn, VaST will receive a wider market reach for promotion and sales of its tools.

With the automotive industry struggling in the current economic climate, this effort between NEC Electronics America and VaST provides an alternative by reducing the significant cost of hardware prototyping and increasing the efficiency of software development, said Jim Trent, vice president, Multipurpose Microcontroller and Automotive Group, NEC Electronics America.

Industry-wide, electronics virtualization would significantly reduce development costs by hundreds of millions of dollars. This collaboration will bring VaST virtualization tools and NEC Electronics microcontrollers to a larger set of customers and thereby lower the industry cost structure for conducting leading-edge automotive system design,” said Alain Labat, chief executive officer of VaST Systems.