The folks at Xilinx have just introduced the Xilinx Automotive (XA) Spartan-3A and Spartan-3A DSP FPGAs at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), thereby significantly expanding their portfolio of low-cost automotive-qualified devices.
These new offerings bring domain-optimized solutions for high I/O-logic ratio and high-bandwidth digital signal processing (DSP) with low power consumption and advanced design security to the development of infotainment, hybrid cluster, and driver assistance systems. Xilinx will showcase XA-based solutions January 7-10 in Xilinx Booth #35768 (South Hall).
Xilinx claim that XA Spartan-3A FPGAs offer the highest number of I/O per logic cell with broad connectivity support, providing the ultimate in flexibility and scalability for I/O-intensive display and LED backlight applications. XA Spartan-3A DSP devices add more logic, memory, and XtremeDSP slices, which Xilinx say packs more raw DSP throughput than any other low-cost PLD device, with "parallel processing power on a scale never before seen in automotive electronics."
The addition of these two families to the XA portfolio delivers FPGA-based solutions optimized for TFT displays, image and video processing, and in-vehicle networking in automotive applications.
XA Spartan-3A FPGAs target hybrid cluster systems
Next-generation instrument clusters (which used to be known as dashboard when I was young), will be a mix of analog and digital functionality. These hybrid clusters require high I/O count in order to control analog gauges and LED lighting, as well as advanced I/O capabilities such as LVDS and RSDS to intelligently control displays.
For example, LED backlighting, where each LED in the cluster must be adjusted for color and brightness, was previously managed using a CPLD alongside a microcontroller. Now, this all can be integrated 'on-board' in XA Spartan-3A devices with the embedded Xilinx 32-bit MicroBlaze soft microprocessor.
XA Spartan-3A devices are I/O-optimized with up to 1.4 million system gates and 502 I/Os. Xilinx claim that they are the only FPGAs compliant with 26 popular single-ended and differential signaling standards, and also support market-specific networking standards, such as CAN, MOST and FlexRay, for which Xilinx has full solutions available.
These devices use source-synchronous interfacing technology cost-optimized to ensure optimal design margins. They also introduce an array of innovations that include dual-power management (suspend and hibernate modes); device configuration capabilities; reduction in the number of power rails (power lines going into the device) from three to two; and permanent DeviceDNA serial numbering to safeguard hardware and software intellectual property (IP).
XA Spartan-3A DSP FPGAs facilitate innovation
The automotive industry is quickly adopting camera, radar, and lidar sensing technologies for use in driver assistance systems. This relatively new area encompasses such applications as night vision and lane departure warning systems, with an eye (no pun intended) toward pedestrian and sign recognition in the future. While these systems are still optional in most vehicles, the growth rate is phenomenal with occupant safety a major focus for consumers and many governments around the world. Continued innovation in this domain will require high-bandwidth processing, flexibility, and scalability, which is provided by XA Spartan-3A DSP devices.
XA Spartan-3A DSP devices deliver over 30 GMACS and 2200 Gbps memory bandwidth, closing the bandwidth-gap automotive designers face with current serial DSP designs. The cost-optimized XtremeDSP DSP48A slice enables designers to implement many independent arithmetic functions. Multiple slices can be connected together without the use of general logic fabric, reducing power consumption while delivering very high performance and efficient silicon utilization. These slices combined with hard-coded DSP pre-adder and multiply accumulate (MAC) blocks provide more than enough processing capacity to execute complex image algorithms much faster than any serial DSP on the automotive market today.
In addition, the XA Spartan-3A DSP family provides up to 53,712 logic cells, 2268 Kbits of performance-enhanced Block RAM, and 373 Kbits of distributed RAM that collectively can be configured to optimize for a broad range of signal processing requirements.
Pricing and availability
Customers can immediately begin designing with commercial XC versions of the
Spartan-3A and Spartan-3A DSP devices and current Xilinx development tool suite. XA Spartan-3A FPGAs will ship in the second quarter of 2008 starting at under $8.50 USD for devices with 200K system gates, followed by XA Spartan-3A DSP devices in the third quarter starting at under $32.00 USD with 1.8 million system gates. Prices are for 50K unit volumes in the smallest package and automotive I-Grade temperatures.
About Xilinx automotive solutions
The Xilinx Automotive (XA) line of FPGAs and CPLDs are tested to the AEC-Q100 automotive qualification standard. Xilinx automotive solutions include LogiCORE and AllianceCORE IP portfolio, operating systems, middleware, software, and development boards. For more information about Xilinx automotive solutions, visit: www.xilinx.com/automotive.