Visteon virtual instrument cluster on 2010 Range Rover uses QNX RTOS, Altia toolchain, Fujitsu graphics controller
July 27, 2009 by John Day
July 27, 2009 – Visteon Corporation has launched a reconfigurable digital instrument cluster platform on Jaguar Land Rover’s new Range Rover – available as a standard fit on all derivatives in Land Rover’s global markets. Visteon used the QNX® Neutrino® realtime operating system (RTOS) as the software foundation for the platform, used the Altia, Inc. toolchain to develop information cluster screens, and selected the Fujitsu MB86R01 “Jade” system-on-chip (SoC) as the platform’s graphics display controller.
Replacing the conventional instrument cluster design, the reconfigurable 12.3-inch full color Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display integrates multiple functions and operating modes to present a virtual speedometer, virtual gauges, and other on-demand driver information via graphical displays and a message center. The driver can customize the message center to display personal prioritized information – from system warnings, outside temperature and vehicle information to audio and telephone displays. The message center can also communicate off-road information, like steering angle, wheel articulation, suspension settings and Terrain Response™ settings.
The cluster can reconfigure itself dynamically as the vehicle shifts from one drive mode to another. Developed for the 2010 Range Rover model range, this is Jaguar Land Rover’s first “virtual cluster” application. According to QNX, the 12-inch (30.5 cm) wide cluster is among the largest TFT LCDs ever to ship in a vehicle. “The instrument cluster is the latest piece of in-car electronics to move from the analog to the digital world,” said QNX CEO Dan Dodge.
The reconfigurable cluster presents information to the driver in an innovative way while helping to reduce driver distraction. It redefines the functional role of instrumentation by providing an interface to manage the complexity of the Range Rover’s advanced vehicle systems safely through the reconfigurable message center, which acts as the information hub for the vehicle.
“The new display technology gives us tremendous flexibility in presenting information, so that the driver gets precisely the data he or she requires, in all driving conditions,” explains Nick Rogers, chief engineer, new vehicle architecture, Range Rover.
The Range Rover “virtual cluster” is the first production program launched from Visteon’s reconfigurable cluster platform, which also offers the flexibility to use one hardware solution with multiple graphic applications for easier vehicle differentiation or mid-cycle refresh.
The cluster was developed in conjunction with Land Rover by Visteon’s engineering teams in Chelmsford, U.K., with support from development teams in the U.S. and software development from Visteon Software Operations, India, and Visteon Software Technologies, France. The reconfigurable platform design is based on a new architectural approach to efficiently manage the complexity of the increased graphics content and display management.
Visteon used Altia Design to assist in the creation of custom graphical meters and a menu system to access the many other features in the instrument cluster. Altia Design was used to integrate graphics from several sources, create additional images and organize the images and menus into the digital instrument cluster model. The model was used to test and verify desired instrument cluster behaviors. Altia’s DeepScreen software was then used to generate C code which is now deployed within the Range Rover instrument cluster. The DeepScreen-generated code is specific to the selected 2D/3D graphics accelerator, exploiting the full power of the embedded target GPU.
Fujitsu Microelectronics America’s MB86R01 ‘Jade’ graphics display controller integrates the 32-bit ARM926EJ-S(TM) CPU core with the Fujitsu high-performance graphics display controller core from the MB86296, to combine optimal CPU performance with sophisticated 2D/3D graphics features in a single, compact device. The MB86R01 is designed for high-end, high-volume embedded automotive graphics applications such as on-board and mobile navigation systems, graphical dashboard systems, head-up display (HUD) units and rear-seat entertainment systems.
Built using Fujitsu’s 90nm CMOS process technology, the Fujitsu MB86R01 ‘Jade’ controller incorporates an ARM9 CPU core, 320MHz internal memory frequency, and display resolutions ranging from 320 x 234 up to 1024 x 768. It also features six layers of overlay window displays, with an alpha plane and constant alpha value for each layer, and two separate video-capture units that support YUV, RGB, ITU656, and other formats. The SoC supports a broad range of third-party RTOS and HMI tools, providing Visteon with flexible options in developing software and graphic development tool chains for the Range Rover system.
“The combination of the ARM9 MCU core and media-connectivity peripherals, along with 2D and 3D rendering, geometry engine, and texture-mapping capabilities, makes the Fujitsu MB86R01 ‘Jade’ an excellent fit for the current Range Rover cluster and future applications,” says Philip Hughes, senior director and the head of Automotive Business Group, Fujitsu Microelectronics America.