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Specialized for 3D graphics clusters

Renesas Electronics has announced the availability of the R-Car D1 series, as the first member of system-on-chips (SoCs) in the R-Car family. They are specialized for 3D instrument cluster systems and support CAN FD.

The SoCs support CAN FD (Photo: Renesas)

THE COMPANY SAYS THAT THEY ARE INTRODUCING the series to provide a smooth migration path for automotive system manufacturers: in the near future more automotive systems are expected to shift to 3D graphics instrument cluster systems. As the use of color LCD panels in instrument cluster systems becomes more widespread, gauge control and graphics display are being combined even in smaller and medium size cars. The trend towards gauge-less displays is already progressing in high-end cars. Visibility and comfort are desired, and attractive, easy to see displays using 3D graphics on large, high-resolution panels are seen as one aspect of a car's individuality. In the future, display size and resolution are expected to increase further, even graphics displays used in low-to mid-end cars, along with the use of cluster systems that provide 3D graphics similar to that used in high-end cars.

Since Renesas users can take advantage of the R-Car Consortium ecosystem, which consists of over 170 companies, it will be able to develop 3D graphics cluster systems quickly. The series of SoCs implements human machine interfaces (HMI) for high-end automotive cockpit systems. The company also offers gauge control support through its RH850/D1x micro-controllers (MCU) that are also suitable for entry-level and mid-range automotive systems.

The R-Car D1 includes a range of communication interfaces required in an instrument cluster system. The product supports CAN FD to connect with automotive infotainment systems, Ethernet AVB for connection with navigation systems, and USB to connect with smartphones.

Instrument cluster systems require a rapid startup so that, for instance, immediately after the driver opens the door (or at the same time) accessories start up and the system instantly displays the screen. Renesas, along with its partner companies participating in the R-Car ecosystem, provides solutions that support high-speed system startup, rapid display of meter and gauge screens, and audio output.

Driver safety protection and car hacking prevention

Since instrument cluster systems may cause serious accidents should they malfunction, it is desired that these systems continuously monitor whether or not correct information is being output. Should a malfunction occur in the system, the malfunction needs to be immediately detected. To implement systems, R-Car D1 supports the ISO 26262 standard for automotive functional safety. Renesas provides a Functional Safety Support Program to implement functionally safe systems.

Furthermore, since it is necessary to prevent hacking from outside, a system which implements safe and secure systems, the RH850 32-bit MCU, can be combined with the R-Car D1. According to the company, this makes it possible to construct systems that assure data robustness and prevent hacking.

The RH850/D1M Group of MCUs can implement both gauge control and 2D graphics display with a single chip and is already used in a range of cars. Since the R-Car D1 SoC includes the same 2D graphics system as the RH850/D1M, system manufacturers can make use of these 2D graphics development assets and develop 3D graphics systems for the R-Car D1. Also, if gauge control is required, system manufacturers can combine the R-Car D1 with the RH850/D1M to implement such systems.

Samples of the R-Car D1 series are available now. Mass production is scheduled to begin in March 2017 and is expected to reach a volume of 100 000 units per month by March 2018.