PORTLAND, Ore.--Parking assistance systems that give drivers a 360-degree view of obstacles around them are currently only available on high-end models, but Freescale Semiconductor Inc.--working with engineers at BMW--claims to have created a technology capable of reducing the cost enough to make them standard equipment.
"Freescale and BMW have cooperated on the definition of a new generation of Qorivva 32-bit microcontrollers, which we believe will enable surround-camera parking assistance systems to migrate to a broader range of vehicles," said Allan McAuslin, product marketing manager of safety and chassis microcontrollers at Freescale.
Key to the new microcontroller technology is its ability to compress the video from up to five cameras mounted on an automobile’s four corners--plus a backup camera--then stitch the images together in to a complete 360-degree image that can be displayed on the dashboard (usually in a donut-shape). Built on the Power Architecture, the new 32-bit Qorivva MPC5604E eliminates the need for costly individual video cables (at $10 each) by sending all image data over a single Fast Ethernet in-vehicle network.
Using compressed JPEG images, the Qorivva microcontroller is able to use a single cheap two-wire Ethernet cable to send the time-stamped video using the Autosar realtime operating system. As a result, BMW aims to debut the technology in its lower-end models. Freescale is also working with other automobile makers worldwide to assist them in switching to compressed video over Fast Ethernet, eventually hoping to make 360-degree parking assistance systems standard equipment on most models.
Freescale's new Qorivva 32-bit micro controller based on an e200 Power Architecture core has hardware JPEG video compression and Fast Ethernet to cut the cost of 360-degree view parking assistance.