PORTLAND, Ore. Freescale Semiconductor unveiled an automotive-qualified version of its i.MX31 applications processor on Wednesday (Sept. 12).
The processor meets Automotive Electronics Council Q100 specs, demonstrating the ability to operate within a "40 C to 85 C temperature range. Ford Motor Co.'s 2008 models will use the Freescale i.MX31 processor in their Windows CE-based in-car communication and entertainment system, called SYNC.
"Ford is our first automotive customer for the i.MX31," said Freescale product manager Michael Haight. "Ford's SYNC uses Microsoft's Auto operating system, which is derived from its Windows-CE realtime OS, but our customers could also use Linux or QNX's Neutrino or any popular real-time OS."
The i.MX31 is based on an ARM11 core instead of the PowerPC-core used on Freescale's other automotive processors, such as the MPC5121e, which runs telematics applications that include night-vision, air bag deployment, radar and sonar. Instead of telematic functions, the i.MX31 is aimed at infotainment, functions such as wirelessly switching incoming telephone calls to a stereo and obeying spoken human commands to either pick up the call or send it to the voice mail system.
The i.MX31 also supports infotainment functions include voice recognition, high-speed data transfers of voice and media and in-car connectivity between consumer devices. Ford's SYNC, for instance, offers in-car compatibility and hands-free control of any Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or USB device.
The ARM11 core runs at 400 MHz out of its two-level cache and is accelerated with what Freescale calls its Smart Speed technology, a 6 x 5 crossbar switch to memory that eliminates wait states and, according to Freescale, enables the processor to provide performance equivalent to that of processors with clock speeds up to 3 GHz.