Full-digital instrument panels that give a high-end feel to any car are coming to the mid and entry ranges, enabled by new technology from STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications and a top supplier of advanced automotive ICs.
ST’s new Accordo 5 family of automotive processors meet crucial display-performance and security demands in a low-power compact platform suitable for lower-cost vehicles. The devices enable state-of-the-art digital instrument clusters and Audio/Video/Navigation (AVN) head units to become more affordable than ever by integrating the complete graphics, video, and audio functionality on-chip to save design costs and simplify assembly.
Accordo 5 devices provide features that have high value for car drivers, including smartphone mirroring that gives access to content such as music and navigation services on the phone safely through the vehicle’s own user interface. The state-of-the-art host processor and high-performance video and graphics engines can present complex information displays, such as simultaneous user-interface plus rear-view camera with navigation and video preview. There is also video playback for major formats including H.264 and DivX®, 2D and 3D graphics with effects such as blending and overlays, as well as USB connections and SD-Card interfaces.
Less visible to users, but critically important to today’s increasingly connected cars, Accordo 5 chips integrate a high-performance microcontroller that secures the interface between the head unit and the main vehicle network. Built-in features of this microcontroller include boot-code authentication, secure interconnect, and high-performance data encryption.
The Accordo 5 family is the latest generation of ST’s successful Accordo line and leapfrogs other digital-infotainment chips, leveraging ARM® Cortex®-A7 processor as the main computing CPU. The Cortex-A7 architecture is highly area-efficient, and therefore cost-effective, with high processing and memory-streaming performance. The Accordo 5 range gives designers a choice of single-core Cortex A7 with a 16-bit interface to high-performing off-chip DDR3, or dual-core Cortex-A7 with a 16/32-bit DDR3 interface.
Although targeting mid-range vehicle markets, Accordo 5 delivers best-in-class graphics performance from its 500MHz 3D graphics processor core. The architecture supports 2D and 3D graphics up to 1080p resolution, in well-known formats like OpenVG, OpenGLES-2.0, and is capable of effects such as flexible blending of up to four layers with multiple modes and video overlay. The multi-format video subsystem provides post-processing for effects such as picture-in-picture, and virtuoso audio performance comes from a high-performance audio DSP, six stereo-audio analog channels, and support for multiple industry-standard audio interfaces. The built-in display controller supports TFT-LCD touch panels up to Full HD definition.
The new family further strengthens security by dedicating an ARM Cortex-M based microcontroller for managing the secure CAN interface between digital instruments and the main vehicle network. This microcontroller integrates three CAN ports including support for the latest CAN FD high-speed standard, a hardware accelerator for crypto algorithms including SHA-2, PK and AES, and One-Time-Programmable (OTP) memory for master-key storage and tamper prevention. The microcontroller draws very little current in standby mode, and complements careful power management throughout the chip to minimize drain on the vehicle’s electrical supply.
Additional advances include increased thermal dissipation versus execution performance, which helps simplify thermal management for optimum reliability, as well as flexible signal routing that simplifies audio design.
ST supports designers using the new chips with comprehensive software and middleware IP that streamlines the design of feature-rich displays and instruments.
The Accordo 5 family comprising the STA1275, STA1285, and STA1295 is in sampling phase now. The STA1295 with dual-core Cortex-A7 processor is available in a 19mm x 19mm x 1.7mm LFBGA529 package. Please contact your local ST sales office for pricing options and further information.