Freescale Vybrid integrates infotainment software
June 19, 2012 by John Day
Developers can focus on application layer
At the Freescale Technology Forum 2012, Freescale Semiconductor announced the extension of its single-chip Vybrid controller solutions portfolio into the automotive market with silicon-enabled software designed to bring connected radios, entry-level infotainment systems and reconfigurable instrument clusters to mainstream automobiles.
Vybrid automotive devices address up to 80 percent of an automaker’s development needs with production-grade software and comprehensive support, reducing the total software investment and effort required and speeding time to market.
Freescale noted that in-car audio systems are quickly evolving from basic radio and CD players to connected systems that provide entertainment and information from a variety of sources. Consumers are growing to expect advanced features in their new vehicles, including voice command, smartphone integration and interactive, streaming audio.
“With smart mobile devices in the hands of almost every consumer, expectations for connectivity in cars are rapidly increasing,” said Ray Cornyn, vice president of Freescale’s automotive microcontroller (MCU) business. “Vybrid automotive solutions help dramatically expand the functionality of driver information systems, at price points suitable for mainstream vehicles. Freescale is going beyond silicon to provide a full software-hardware solution, reducing the workload for system developers.”
According to the GENIVI® Alliance, infotainment development costs range on average from $20 to $50 million (USD), with software costs accounting for more than half the total and expected to continue to grow in the future. Freescale said Vybrid automotive solutions provide everything designers need to quickly go from concept to market, including automotive-grade board support packages (BSPs) based on the MQX and Linux operating systems, production-ready application software, pre-integrated partner software, reference designs, application notes, leading development environments and a rich ecosystem of third-party and open-source resources.
Luke Smithwick, operations manager for Freescale’s Driver Information and Infotainment Systems, described silicon-enabled software as pre-tested, pre-integrated production software combined with integration and feature sets to get customers up and running quickly. “Freescale is providing peripheral interfaces and software that provides the framework to jump-start customers into the market. The software must be licensed, but if customers choose to do so, all they need to do is add their own application layer.”
Freescale’s recently announced Vybrid controller solutions are built on an asymmetrical-multiprocessing-architecture platform that leverages the company’s heritage in microcontroller (MCU) development and multicore design. The Vybrid platform integrates the ARM® Cortex™-A and Cortex™-M cores, reducing complexity and cost while increasing system security for automotive applications. The new Vybrid controller solutions, along with i.MX applications processors, give Freescale a breadth of scalable solutions based on ARM architecture to cover infotainment solutions ranging from basic and connected radio up to high-end, multi-core infotainment systems with best in class graphics capabilities.
Integrating partner solutions
Freescale has teamed up with select industry-leading partners that have extensive automotive experience and embedded systems know-how to provide software solutions for areas such as Bluetooth® wireless connectivity, human-machine interface (HMI) tools and acoustic echo cancellation/noise suppression. Time to market is improved by pre-integrating the partner solutions, helping to ensure these production-ready components are optimized for both performance and memory footprint.
Connected radio, instrument cluster
In partnership with Altia, Sybase, Cybercom and Alango Technologies, Freescale offers automotive customers best-in-class user interfaces, reliable Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free functionality and high-quality voice communication. The partners also supported the development of a Vybrid connected radio platform and an entry-level fully reconfigurable automotive instrument cluster platform on display at the Freescale Technology Forum in San Antonio.
Targeted system integration
Future in-car systems will include a convergence of safety-critical functionality with traditional telematics and digital entertainment applications. Fusing these capabilities into a single compute platform is critical to minimize size, weight, power, cost, and electronics complexity.
• Dual-core (Cortex-A5 + Cortex-M4) architecture allows Vybrid automotive solutions to handle MCU and MPU tasks on a single chip, providing performance over 850 DMIPs.
• Integrated Video ADC for direct connection of one or more analog cameras to ensure low system cost and easy conformance to upcoming mandates requiring rear view cameras for safety purposes.
• 1.5 MB on-chip SRAM and multiple package options provide scalability – from low-cost, basic connected radios without external DRAM up to entry-level infotainment systems with dual displays.
• 2D-ACE and integrated OpenVG™ hardware acceleration greatly reduces memory requirement and provides rich, compelling user interfaces.
• Standard vehicle connectivity is provided through integrated CAN controllers, MLB, UART/LIN and Ethernet with IEEE® 1588 support.
• Integrated video ADC allows for direct connection to analog cameras without the need for expensive external circuits.
• Dual USB 2.0 on-the-go (OTG) controllers (with integrated PHY) and a large variety of serial interfaces such as UART, SPI, and I2S provide connectivity to consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and Bluetooth-enabled devices.
• Vybrid VF series devices are included in Freescale’s product longevity program, with assured supply for a minimum of 10 years. For Terms and Conditions and to obtain a list of available products, visit freescale.com/productlongevity.
Vybrid automotive devices are ARMv7 compatible, allowing designers to maximize software and hardware reuse and accelerate time to market. For more information, visit www.freescale.com/vybrid.
Alpha samples of Vybrid automotive solutions are available now. Broad market availability of samples and tools is planned for early 2013 from Freescale and its distribution partners.