PORTLAND, Ore.—Fully reconfigurable instrument clusters and customizable apps are turning driver information systems into a mobile touchscreen experience—similar to the way smartphones have transformed cell phones into interactive extravaganzas—according to Freescale Semiconductor Inc., which announced new high-end automotive processors Tuesday (Oct. 19) at Converence 2010 in Detroit.
Freescale (Austin, Texas) said its i.MX534 and i.MX536 automotive multimedia processors house two independent graphics processors plus use the latest ARM Cortex-A8 core for running in-dash apps under Android, Linux, QNX or Windows Embedded Compact 7.
"What we have done is boost the graphics performance by about 30 percent, plus speeded up the ARM core to make it easier to run smartphone-like apps in the vehicle," said Dan Loop, Freescale's product marketing manager for high i.MX. "The other big thing we did for concurrent applications is double the memory bus speed."
The new i.MX-53 also has expanded vehicle-level connectivity with two integrated controller–area network (CAN) modules and an interface to optical rings for OEMs supporting the Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) vehicle bus for ultra-high-speed networking within a vehicle.
The dual graphics processors allow two-dimensional needle-indicators on instruments to be rendered simultaneously with 3-D background images. A dedicated video processor offloads the main core by performing video 1080p decoding and 720p encoding for multimedia applications like playing movies and monitoring cameras. Enhanced serial audio interfaces, multiple I2S ports and a hardware-based asynchronous sample-rate converter supports multichannel audio and audio mixing applications.
Both the i.MX536 and i.MX534 are members of Freescale Product Longevity program that guarantees that they will continue to be in-stock for 15 years. A planned Smart Application Blueprint for Rapid Engineering (SABRE) reference board for the i.MX536 and i.MX534 will demonstrate infotainment and telematics applications with terrestrial and satellite radio tuners, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, cellular modem, IAP authentication modules, MOST and CAN vehicle networking, cameras and displays.