Renesas Electronics America, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, they announced the RH850/D1x Series of 32-bit automotive microcontrollers (MCUs) specialized for instrument clusters that deliver easy-to-access information to support a safer and rich driving experience.
“As the infotainment system becomes a purchasing factor for new vehicles, particularly for the mid-range vehicle segment, car makers are looking to suppliers to help them bring high-performance, differentiated options to market,” said Amrit Vivekanand, vice president of automotive, Renesas Electronics America. “This means solutions that offer high graphics content with functional safety, at the same time supporting multiple instrument gauge clusters, in a cost effective manner. The RH850/D1x group of MCUs was created to help designers reduce time-to-market while increasing reusability of software, to streamline software development periods and reduce development and maintenance costs.”
The connected car is generating an increasing amount of information from the automotive networks, cameras and multimedia systems. This trend is driving a strong need to transmit these large amounts of information to the driver in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-read manner, which often takes a graphical format. As graphics become widely used in instrument clusters, color LCDs are going to be widely adopted to increase both the expressive power and legibility, improving the communications with the driver to provide appropriate information at the appropriate time with appropriate displays through a combination of gauges, graphics, and head-up displays.
As the leading global MCU supplier for instrument clusters, Renesas is leveraging its automotive experience to support the whole range of instrument cluster systems, from the combination of gauge control and LCD display for the entry and mid-range cars, to the full graphics required for high-end luxury cars. Designed for entry class and mid-range vehicle systems, the RH850/D1x Series integrates gauge control, graphics display and functional safety in one chip, while reducing the system BOM cost and scalable development offers, and helps realize instrument cluster systems with highly reliable color graphics LCD.
Key Features of the RH850/D1x MCUs:
(1) Reduced system BOM cost
The RH850/D1x MCUs incorporate a large-capacity RAM (up to 3.5MB) and Renesas’ newly developed high-functionality graphics engine supported by a highly efficient “Renesas Graphics Library”. These contribute to reducing the amount of RAM usage and realize high-definition LCD display without external high-speed DRAMs. In addition, by eliminating these external high-speed DRAMs, systems can be designed on low-cost four-layer printed circuit boards.
(2) Scalable development offerings
By combining the common basic functionality, including gauge control and in-car network functions, Renesas features 22 products in seven groups that offer varieties of graphics and cost options. This rich lineup provides enhanced software reusability and scalable solution to enable common platforms for instrument cluster systems. These scalable development offerings shorten software development periods and reduce both development and maintenance costs.
(3) Intelligent development
By incorporating a high-functionality graphics engine, the RH850/D1x enables the creation of high-precision animations on a large display to address the requirement of mid-range cars, and also realizes both the expressive power and visibility for head-up displays. With the RH850/D1x graphics engine supporting OpenVG 1.1 standard and HMI development tools supporting API standard, the development period can be shortened even further.
(4) Support for head-up displays
The RH850/D1x MCUs include a function that automatically corrects video output in accordance with car design such as windshields. The output video data can be warped to fit for an arbitrary shape without frame delay. This enables head-up displays to be added to the instrument clusters.
(5) Functional safety
To secure functional safety for the instrument cluster systems, the RH850/D1x MCUs include functions for detecting system malfunctions and monitoring functions that monitor and verify, at all times, that important information, such as warnings and the gear position, is being informed correctly, to secure safety.