Renesas Electronics Corporation, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, on October 31, 2017, announced its high-performance R-Car D3 automotive infotainment system system-on-chip (SoC), designed to expand the use of 3D graphics instrument clusters (3D clusters) that support 3D graphics displays in entry-class cars. The R-Car D3 achieves both high-performance graphic capabilities and contributes to significant reduction in overall system development cost.
The new SoC includes a high-performance 3D graphics core that enables a high-quality 3D display and lower system costs equivalent to the bill of materials (BOM) costs of developing with 2D graphics instrument clusters (2D clusters).
By adopting the R-Car D3, system developers can re-use their 3D graphics development assets, including software and graphics designs from high-end vehicles that adopt high-performance R-Car H3 or R-Car M3 SoCs to entry-level cars. This scalability enables development of easy-to-use and high visibility entry cluster 3D graphics at approximately the same level cost as the existing 2D clusters. In addition, Renesas collaborates with industry-leading partners in the instrument cluster field to further reduce development steps and costs.
“Full graphics cluster systems equipped with a large thin filter transistor panel are expected to become mainstream for future vehicles, which will require high-definition 3D graphics display at a high speed to accurately convey information to the driver,” said Toshiaki Ichihashi, Managing Officer, Engineering Headquarters, Nippon Seiki Co., Ltd. “We are excited that the R-Car D3 will respond to this need as well as reduce BOM costs.”
“For more than a decade, automotive OEMs and Tier 1s have relied on BlackBerry QNX® to deliver world-class software solutions for infotainment, telematics, and instrument cluster systems,” said Grant Courville, senior director of product management at BlackBerry QNX. “The combination of the new R-Car D3 SoC and BlackBerry’s ISO 26262 ASIL B-certified QNX Platform for Instrument Clusters will enable our customers to confidently deliver state-of-the-art, safety-certified digital clusters rapidly to the market.”
“The safe and secure INTEGRITYreal-time operating system is widely used for automotive in-vehicle infotainment and instrument clusters in productions programs around the globe. Our support for the R-Car D3 builds on years of successful partnership with Renesas and their other R-Car devices, providing the customer with certified automotive safety, time-saving development tools, and optional virtualization for Linux” said Matt Slager, Director of Asia-Pacific Business Development at Green Hills Software. “We see this third-generation R-Car D3 as a valuable addition to the R-Car Family of SoCs, enabling customers to easily migrate and reuse existing R-Car and INTEGRITY software assets for faster time to market for their next-generation integrated cockpit designs.”
“For practical implementation of autonomous driving, the instrument cluster needs to instantly, accurately, and safely report a wide variety of information to the driver. The Renesas R-Car D3, which provides powerful graphics capabilities and critical functional safety features for instrument clusters, is expected to revolutionize the 3D cluster user experience,” said Lynwood Stanley, Vice President of Global Engineering Services at Altia. “Altia is using our DeepScreen code generator, which optimizes the HMI code, for the Renesas R-Car with the goal to deliver the highest-performance embedded HMIs to the market.”
“For instrument clusters based on large-scale LCD displays, the market is expected to grow rapidly in the future, and it would be a great benefit to the customer to be able to implement such instrument clusters at a low BOM cost,” said Rock Yang, Vice President at Thundersoft. “As one of the leading provider of UI/UE and OS technology, we at Thundersoft provide both software system integration and our HMI tool “Kanzi” for the R-Car including the new R-Car D3. We believe we can work with Renesas to drive the R-Car solutions market.”
The increasing number of connections between the instrument cluster and the various sensors and control devices allows more information about the vehicle and its surroundings to be captured and displayed on the instrument cluster. However, this increases the need for improved visibility from a safety point of view.
Currently, entry-class vehicles feature mostly 7- to 10-inch liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that support mainly 2D graphics. In the future, advancements in automotive LCDs size, resolution, and prices will support an anticipated explosive demand in 3D clusters to meet the growing need for clearer and highly visible designs on a large screen, particularly in the Chinese market.
In the meantime, system developers working with automotive instrument clusters must manage an increasing number of development steps and costs, as 3D clusters for entry-class cars are required to meet both the strict cost and high-performance as existing 2D clusters but with 3D graphics drawing requirements.
Renesas developed the R-Car D3 with these functions and performance capabilities in mind, offering developers a reliable, robust 3D clusters solution that is scalable from entry-level to high-end vehicles.
Key features of the R-Car D3
High-performance 3D graphics core that enables high-quality 3D display and lower system costs equivalent to that of 2D cluster development
The new SoC includes a 3D graphics core that enables high-performance human-machine interface (HMI) and realizes significantly reduced system development cost equivalent to those of existing 2D cluster systems.
- 3D graphics core that enables high-performance HMI
Leveraging one of the latest graphics cores from Imagination Technologies, Inc, the Power VR Series 8XE, the R-Car D3 achieves approximately six times improved drawing performance compared to the existing 3D graphics R-Car D1 SoC.
This allows system developers to reuse content created for high-end cars in entry class cars, system designers who had previously been concerned about hardware graphics performance limitations can now create graphics content without concern or limitations.
- Reduced system costs by approximately 40 percent compared to existing Renesas devices
The R-Car D3 adopts the ball grid array (BGA) package, which simplifies the use of printed circuit boards (PCBs). This allows system developers to create 3D clusters using low-cost, four-layer PCBs, reducing the system BOM costs. The Renesas R-Car D3 reference boards, also use four-layer PCBs, and Renesas provides the design data as reference data for system developers to simplify the design of their own systems. In addition, since the new SoC achieves industry-leading level of low power consumption, developers can configure a power supply circuit using a relatively inexpensive discrete power supply regulator. Since a cluster system can be configured with one DDR SDRAM, it is possible to reduce BOM cost by approximately 40 percent compared with 3D cluster systems that include the existing R-Car D1, realizing the total system development cost equivalent to the existing 2D cluster. The automatic memory calibration function of the DDR SDRAM, which is standard in R-Car SoCs, eliminates the need for timing adjustment of data transfer with the SRAM and memory evaluation man-hours requirements.
Robust partner ecosystem to streamline development steps
Renesas works with several operating system (OS) manufacturers, HMI manufacturers, and system integrators who are leading the instrument cluster field. System developers can take advantage of a wide range of automotive solutions by working with the more than 200 Renesas R-Car Consortium partner companies to further reduce the number of development steps and cost for 3D graphics.
In addition, the R-Car D3 uses open GL ES 3.1 for 3D graphics drawing, which enables scalability with third-generation R-Car devices. Furthermore, the new SoC uses the same 2D graphics core as the RH850/D1M microcontroller (MCU) for 2D graphics applications. This assures that users will be able to reuse all their software assets and design content assets development from applications ranging from 2D clusters to high-end 3D clusters.
As part of the third-generation R-Car SoC Family, the R-Car D3 supports the ISO 26262 (ASIL-B) automotive functional safety standard, and provides a functional safety support program for implementing safe driving support systems, contributing to the realization of a safe driving experience.
Samples of the R-Car D3 are available now. Mass production is scheduled to begin in September 2019 and is expected to reach a volume of 200,000 units per month in September 2020. (Availability is subject to change without notice.)