The WiLink 8Q, with WiFi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, and GPS/GNSS on a single chip, is designed to deliver complete wireless connectivity for automotive infotainment systems, according to TI. The key to WiLink 8Q is concurrency in infotainment systems, according to Ram Machness, TI’s business and marketing director for automotive wireless connectivity. The wireless chip, for example, can support up to four concurrent HD video streams over WiFi, WiFi-certified Miracast operation, in-car multimedia streaming video, four concurrent HD video streams in parallel with hands-free calling over Bluetooth (HFP), or stereo music playback (A2DP) over Bluetooth.
More important, Machness stresses, WiLink 8Q concurrently supports GPS, GLONASS, and other satellite constellations. Unlike chips claiming support for different GPS satellites, “Our chip is, literally, concurrently running both GPS and GLONASS simultaneously,” he says, “for seeking better accuracies and dead-reckoning solutions.”
Four key trends on the horizon
Asked about key features sought after by tier-ones and carmakers for new models, TI’s Ballard offered four big trends.
First, in-vehicle infotainment systems are rapidly becoming the key differentiators for mid- to entry-level cars. Second, the number of screens inside a car is rapidly growing, and their ability to display high-resolution images is increasingly required. Third, sub-system vendors and carmakers are looking for ways to integrate a growing number of ECUs. One ECU to drive both in-vehicle infotainment and the information cluster is one good example. Fourth, Advanced Driver Assistant Systems’ functions are progressing further. The ability to display views captured by surround video cameras is now adding a variety of functions. They range from red light detection to autonomous braking.
In light of the growing features and functions, every sub-system supplier is looking for “considerable cost savings” in the chip solutions they adopt, Ballard says.
TI’s wireless chip, WiLink 8Q, already in mass production, is now widely designed into cars that will appear in late 2014 and early 2015, according to TI. As for the DRA72x Jacinto 6 Eco processor, TI is currently sampling it, with production availability by the first half of 2015.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times