At the recent Telematics Update Conference in Novi, MI, three semiconductor suppliers rolled out products that integrate microcontrollers and graphics engines on a single chip. They did so for good reason: Automakers are increasingly espousing a future vision in which dashboards will evolve into information clusters with bigger, higher resolution displays that handle audio players, cell phones, iPods, address books, satellite radios, and vehicle information gages.
“Today, more than 90 percent of automotive innovation is in the electronics,” says Mike Bryars, business unit manager, telematics operations, for Freescale Semiconductor. “Most of it is not in the powertrain; it’s in the telematics.”
Indeed, tier-one suppliers are said to be envisioning dashboards that involve door-to-door electronics, and to make that happen, they’ll need powerful processing.
“Navigation has been driving display resolution,” says Dan Landeck, senior marketing manager for Fujitsu’s Automotive Solutions Group. “And with higher resolution displays, you need a more powerful graphics processor.”
Here, we present 32-bit processor/graphics engines from Freescale, Fujitsu and Renesas, all of which debuted at the Telematics Update conference.
Freescale’s Multi-Core Processor for Telematics
Freescale’s low-power system-on-chip MPC5121e combines Power Architecture technology with integrated 3D graphics and multimedia acceleration cores. Manufactured on a 90-nm, low-power CMOS base, it unites a 32-bit core with a dedicated 2D/3D graphics engine and a powerful co-processor enhanced for real-time audio and multimedia. It’s aimed at telematics’ applications requiring sophisticated displays, graphics acceleration, network connectivity and mass storage. “This is a real system-on-chip,” says Bryars of Freescale. “All of the parts are designed to work together.”
Fujitsu’s System-On-Chip for Navigation and Entertainment
Fujitsu’s MB86R01 is a 32-bit CPU and graphics engine on a single chip aimed at high-end, high-volume embedded automotive graphics applications such as navigation, graphical dashboard systems, head-up displays, and rear-seat entertainment. Built on Fujitsu’s 90-nm CMOS technology, the MB86R01 is targeted at applications requiring maximum CPU performance with sophisticated 2D and 3D graphics. Core frequency is 320 MHz. The on-board graphics processor meets requirements for embedded graphics applications, such as in-car infotainment. It includes a rendering engine for 2D/3D graphics acceleration and a geometry processor supporting floating point transformations for smooth animations.
Renesas’ System-On-Chip Targets Navigation
Renesas’ 600-MHz, 32-bit system-on-chip combines 1-GIPS/4.2-GFLOPS performance with a 3D graphics engine and a GPS baseband module for use in next-generation car navigation systems and other in-vehicle graphics systems. The single-chip SH7775 (which did not yet have a website description available at press time), is a third-generation product based on its predecessor, the SH7774. It incorporates 3D drawing functions for map drawing and includes such capabilities and texture mapping, enabling more realistic location and direction displays on navigation screens.