An SoC dedicated for Ethernet AVB-enabled vehicle camera networks, the R-Car T2, has been introduced by Renesas Electronics. The R-Car T2 enables the delivery of high-resolution camera video through multiple systems while maintaining real-time performance with low latency levels. These capabilities are key to providing the surround view monitoring and obstacle detection applications that contribute to safe driving experiences.
Initially used for rear-view functionality and parking assistance applications, the use of vehicle cameras has since expanded to support 360° surround view functionality that expands what is seen by the system to every direction around the vehicle, helping to improve driver safety. To further optimise safety, vehicle camera video is also now being used in driver assist systems for braking, steering and providing obstacle detection warnings, for instance when changing lanes. These sophisticated systems demand substantially higher processing performance in order to handle the expanded range of image recognition targets and increased processing load imposed by multiple cameras with higher pixel counts. Ethernet AVB offers features such as guaranteed bandwidth and synchronisation of multiple cameras simultaneously and a system involving additional cameras that can be flexibly upgraded. Moving forward, Ethernet AVB is expected to become the mainstream technology for automotive high-speed networking. Additionally, the Ethernet AVB standard also supports the use of PoE, in which power is supplied over transmission lines. This reduces or eliminates the need for separate power supplies or dedicated cables for individual modules.
The R-Car T2 supports multiple standards, including IEEE 802.1AS, IEEE802.1Qav, IEEE802.1Qat, and IEEE1722 standards. The R-Car T2 SoC features a built-in H.264 encoder developed exclusively by Renesas to provide low-latency compression while maintaining real-time high-quality HD video (1,280x960px) transfer. Video can be compressed with extremely low latency of less than 1ms and delivered to multiple systems through the networks to vehicle systems. The high quality and real-time transfer create a high level of safety, making it possible to rapidly share camera footage with the ADASs.
Previously, with the popularity of Ethernet as an easy-to-use network standard that allows video to be transferred to multiple systems, video compression was necessary as the maximum bandwidth supported by UTP cable is 100Mb/s and latency was an issue in applications such as driver safety assist systems. Now Renesas has succeeded in reducing the latency time to less than 1ms, which is equivalent to a movement distance of 2.8cm when driving at 100km/h. This enables nearly real-time data transfer, allowing use in driver safety assist systems and making it possible to switch from the current LVDS system to Ethernet. In addition, convenient network support makes it possible to connect multi-display functionality and the building of advanced vehicle information systems that provide superior safety and comfort.
The R-Car T2 features typical power consumption as low as 40mW, which reduces heat concerns for a sealed camera module designed to keep out moisture and dust. In addition, at 6mm2 in size, the small form factor fits in camera modules designed to take up minimal space and contributes to flexible design.
Samples of the R-Car T2 SoC are available now. Mass production of the R-Car T2 is scheduled to begin in December 2016 and is expected to reach a volume of 500,000 units per month by September 2017.