Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions, is enhancing the driving experience with robust new solutions for the integrated car cockpit. As the newest member of Renesas Electronics’ state-of-the-art R-Car Series for automotive, the R-Car E2 automotive systems on chip (SoCs) and the new R-Car E2 software development board deliver optimized infotainment and display audio for entry-level integrated cockpit systems that support smartphone interoperability and, in combination with other Renesas R-Car Series devices, help achieve the scalability required to bridge the full range of integrated cockpit systems from entry-level to high-end models.
In an integrated cockpit, the converged system integrates and analyzes multiple streams of information and reports the results to the driver in an optimized format, which is increasingly delivered through interoperation with smartphones. This convergence is driving demand for higher level functionality and greater added value for entry-level applications.
Display audio systems are one growth area that is well suited for smartphone interoperation. This interoperability makes it possible to provide functionality that has been difficult to implement in the vehicle information system itself, and the range of functions is expected to continue expanding. This requires a broad scope of support, including support for interfaces enabling connections with multiple smartphones and sufficient speed to accommodate the broad range of applications accessed via these connections. As a result, software development has become more challenging, and the resulting slowdown in development speed and sudden increase in development costs are becoming key issues.
As the integrated cockpit becomes mainstream, it is generating a wide variety of implementations. OEMs and Tier-1s are looking for automotive suppliers to provide a broad product lineup that is flexible enough to support these many variations, and the ability to reuse software across the entire product lineup – key requirements that must be met to enable the realization of integrated cockpit systems.
Key features of the R-Car E2 solution:
(1) Performance and functions optimized for display audio and entry-level integrated cockpit systems
The 2 + 1 CPU configuration consists of dual ARM® Cortex™-A7 CPU cores, optimized for low power consumption and high performance, and a single SH-4A CPU core, with a proven track record in automotive applications. This configuration delivers approximately four times the performance of the earlier R-Car E1 for the entry-level range and provides a comfortable performance margin. The R-Car E2 devices are optimized for low power, integrating technologies that eliminate the need for heat sinks and fans, which further reduces system costs. Designed for entry-level applications, the R-Car E2 devices have also been optimized for system cost. By raising the bus frequency of the connection to external DDR memory, the new devices achieve ample performance using a single external DDR module and a 16-bit connection cost.
(2) Scalability to support a wide variety of requirements
The R-Car E2 supports developers to develop software that is compatible across a wide range of products. The Cortex™-A7 CPU core is binary-compatible with the Cortex™-A15 CPU core used in the high-end products (the R-Car H2 and R-Car M2), and the functional IP modules and memory maps are also identical. This allows use of the same drivers and middleware. The system manufacturers can develop and maintain a unified software stack, and the use of a single platform in this way reduces both development costs and the time required for development. This makes it possible to introduce new products optimized for demand segments in a timely manner while optimizing system costs.
(3) Highly accessible development environment for ease of design
In addition to the existing software development board for system development and integration, Renesas has developed a software development board with functions optimized specifically for application and middleware development by partner vendors. This board is being made available at low cost to make it as accessible as possible. This will streamline the software development of partner vendors worldwide and help the expansion of Renesas ecosystem.
The software development board reduces the development time required for realizing standard features for the display and audio systems, such as smartphone interface, rearview camera and media players, which contributes to faster time-to-market for customers worldwide.
Additionally, to respond to the rapidly changing market demands, Renesas plans to utilize the new software development board as a tool to actively leverage open source to realize system integration at low cost.
Samples of the Renesas R-Car E2 SoC are available now. Mass production is scheduled to begin in June 2016 and is expected to reach a combined production volume of 500,000 units per month by June 2017. (Availability is subject to change without notice.)
Renesas Electronics Corporation