Renesas has announced the RH850/D1x Series of 32-bit automotive MCUs specialised for use in instrument clusters that deliver easy-to-access information to support a safer and rich driving experience. The connected car generates a significant amount of information , which must be transmitted to the driver in an easy-to-understand and easy-to-read manner, shown as graphics.
As graphics become widely used in instrument clusters, colour LCDs will be widely adopted to increase both the expressive power and legibility, improving the communications with the driver. It is important to provide appropriate information at the appropriate time with appropriate displays through a combination of gauges, graphics, and head-up display.
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 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. It also enables scalable development offers, and helps designers implement instrument cluster systems with highly reliable colour graphics LCDs.
The RH850/D1x MCUs incorporate a large-capacity RAM (up to 3.5MB) and Renesas’ high-functionality graphics engine supported by an efficient “Renesas Graphics Library”. These contribute to a reduction in the amount of RAM usage and enable 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 PCBs. To ensure upward scalability, device variants with external DRAM interfaces are available.
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 line-up provides enhanced software reusability and scalable solutions to enable common platforms for instrument cluster systems. These scalable development offerings shorten software development times and reduce both development and maintenance costs.
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 provides both the expressive power and visibility for head-up displays. With the RH850/D1x graphics engine supporting the OpenVG 1.1 standard and HMI development tools supporting the API standard, development times can be shortened even further.
The RH850/D1x MCUs include a function that automatically corrects video output in accordance with elements of car design, such as windshields. The output video data can be warped to fit an arbitrary shape without frame delay. This enables HUDs to be added to the instrument clusters.
To secure functional safety for the instrument cluster systems, the RH850/D1x MCUs include functions for detecting system malfunctions and monitoring functions that continuously verify important information such as warnings. These functions also verify the gear position to ensure safety.
Samples of the RH850/D1x MCUs are available now. Mass production is scheduled to begin in April 2016 and is expected to reach a scale of 4m units per month by April 2018.