A glimpse of the future is what Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe intends to show at embedded world 2010 with a new application concept: It is supposed to demonstrate the possibilities of virtual instrumentation in future passenger and commercial vehicles. On this way, the company aims to provide a ‘right-sized’ complete system solution including hardware and software components, a demo application, as well as tool support to enable a quick start to development.
This demonstration combines various Fujitsu technologies, among them the graphic processing unit (GPU) MB86298 ‘Ruby’, introduced at last year’s embedded world for embedded applications. Mark Ellis, Director Common Technologies & Functions at Fujitsu, explains that the graphics core is the basis for SoCs, and states: “It combines visual computing with automotive-specific features and introduces impressive vehicle application opportunities.” In addition to four integrated video capture units and two integrated display controllers, the GPU's unified shader architecture is fully compliant to Khronos OpenGL ES 2.0.
CGI Studio, the new independent software development platform from Fujitsu Microelectronics Embedded Solution Austria GmbH (FEAT), is also employed in this application. “The software has been designed specifically for the development of automotive 3D instrument cluster and infotainment graphical human machine interfaces”, explains Reinhard Füricht, Head of Business Development at FEAT. In addition to the 3D software engine ‘Candera’, CGI Studio provides a continuous authoring tool-chain based on ‘Scene Composer’ as well as the necessary software development process.
The demo application was created in close co-operation with icon incar, a professional automotive design studio located in Germany. At the embedded world, Fujitsu is demonstrating the 3D capabilities using OpenGL ES 2.0, displaying different instrument cluster content in high resolution.
‘Sports’ mode is designed to impress the viewer with ‘Fire’ colour scheme - a red background showing traditional needle instruments. In this mode, the cluster provides minimal information only - keeping the driver’s attention focused. Important information such as the rotational-speed sensor is displayed in the centre. Additional colouring features will be used if the speed needle moves into the red area. Speed information is displayed on the right-hand side, while the left-hand side provides information in the form of a stop watch.
Minimal vehicle system and economy information is displayed during ‘Stop’ mode, which uses the full display area. This mode provides the highest level of screen flexibility and is used when traffic information that is normally displayed is not necessary – e.g. at a red traffic light when the car is stationary, or when the engine stops. In these situations, information about speed and other standard items is not required. The driver can call up information regarding the vehicle, the route or the traffic situation – it would even be possible to transfer traffic light information like the duration of the red phase, into the scene.
Step-by-step, fully digital visualisations are replacing traditional in-car electromechanical instrument panels, reducing the complexity of systems and the need for numerous production variants. The drivers will have to decide whether that’s good or bad – manufacturers propose increased safety, but every additional electronic system increases the risk of system failure.
Hall 12, booth 314
Picture credits: Marisa Robles Consée