EMBEDDED WORLD 2011 – Virtual dashboards, car navigation and camera-based driver assistance from a single chip - impossible? Maybe, but Fujitsu says it can, with the SoC MB86R12 ‘Emerald-P’ with integrated APIX2 interface. It seems that the Doubtless, in cars of the future the is the virtual display will be the primary interface with the driver, replacing traditional instruments such as pointers, knobs and buttons and maybe even the view of the road ahead. It could bring entirely new applications into the car, not only increasing comfort but also safety, as is the case with camera-based driver assistance systems such as night vision assistance and head up display applications, the engineers of Fujitsu are convinced.
This successor chip to the other member of the ‘Emerald’ family (MB86R11 ‘Emerald-L’) will be available as engineering samples in Q3/2011, with higher performance and operating frequency (530MHz vs 400MHz), increased operating temperature range for the automotive industry, and additional automotive features including the APIX interface. The processor core is the ARM Cortex A9, which also has an integrated ARM-Neon-SIMD engine.
MB86R12 ‘Emerald-P’ supports up to 1Gbyte of DDR2-800 and DDR3-1066 SDRAM (organised either x16 or x32) and NAND, NOR and managed NAND (mNAND) flash memory. The 2D graphic engine, which supports fast rotation, blending, scaling and copy operations, is designed for rendering cover flows, text and needles. In parallel, the Fujitsu 3D graphics core supports OpenGL ES 2.0 shading language-based operations on the freely programmable vertex- and fragment- shaders. The configurable architecture ensures optimised performance of the 3D core, by automatically delivering 2D operations for processing, in parallel, by the 2D engine.
Despite this, the MB86R12 ‘Emerald-P’ provides three independent display controllers, which are capable of driving displays of widely differing resolutions. Consequently, one ‘Emerald’ device can feasibly provide all the display requirements of a modern dashboard. Huge data through-put is required to support multiple, high refresh rates on high resolution displays and these are also supported by ‘Emerald’s’ internal architecture. A further benefit is the availability of the multi-layer concept, as up to 8 graphical ‘layers’ are available for each display controller. This allows very flexible and prioritised graphic rendering of the data presented to the user when changing from one operational scene to another. The automotive standard resources and communications protocols CAN, MediaLB (Media Local Bus) and Ethernet are also implemented in hardware, integrated into the ‘Emerald’ family.
The APIX is a standard high-speed link for video and control in various automotive applications, while the GPU supports OpenGL ES 2.0 and can run 2D and 3D operations in parallel. Video-stream inputs can be pre-processed with the internal image processor, which enhances the visibility of details in over- and under-exposed video frames by intelligent contrast and brightness control. Besides the ‘Candera’ 2D and 3D engines, the CGI Studio provides a complete tool chain for the development of hybrid 2D and 3D graphical interfaces. A Software BSP (Board Support Package) will be available for Linux, and Driver software for further embedded Operating Systems is currently under development.