MADISON, Wis. -- Consumer demand for more advanced in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, the bring-your-own-device trend, the auto industry’s pressing need to consolidate a growing number of ECUs, and the further progress of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are key factors driving the automotive chip market today.
In particular, the auto industry’s appetite for advanced in-vehicle infotainment and telematics systems appears to be insatiable. Features such as high-integrity audio, simultaneous multimedia streaming, and a variety of device connections, once considered only for high-end cars, are quickly becoming integral parts of entry- to mid-level automobiles scheduled for early 2015 launch, according to Texas Instruments.
For chip suppliers competing for IVI design-in slots, what matters isn’t just advanced multimedia/graphics SoCs that wow automotive subsystem vendors and consumers. The name of the game is “scalability, design-reuse and [the] faster time-to-market” their chips can deliver to tier-ones and car OEMs, explains Brad Ballard, TI’s marketing manager of infotainment.
True to the playbook, TI launched last week “Jacinto 6 Eco,” the newest member of the company’s “Jacinto” automotive SoC platform. Designed to deliver more affordable and economical solutions for advanced IVI and telematics systems, the Jacinto 6 Eco, designated as DRA72X, is built on the principle of the reuse of software and hardware platforms.
Instead of the dual ARM Cortex-A15 used in the original Jacinto 6, the Jacinto 6 Eco integrates a single-core A15. In place of Imagination’s 3D GFX SGX544MP2, the new Jacinto 6 Eco uses a single-core version of the same graphics processor.
As in Jacinto 6, the Jacinto 6 Eco also maintains the Big-Little architecture. It uses on-chip auxiliary CPUs (two ARM Cortex-M4 cores) to offload the main ARM Cortex-A15 CPU from real time, interrupt-intensive tasks, while supporting auto connectivity peripherals including DCAN, Ethernet AVB, MOST Media Local Bus (MLB), PCIe, and USB2.0 and 3.0, according to TI. Also retained in the Jacinto 6 Eco SoC are a C66 DSP co-processor and HD video co-processor for image video acceleration.
What's inside Jacinto 6 Eco SoC?
(Source: Texas Instruments)
The DSP enables active noise cancellation, speech enhancement, digital radio, and audio post-processing algorithms. The video co-processor can decode H.264 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second.
Enabling such features as navigation, speech, and graphics in
entry- to mid-level cars, “you can’t take an IP block away,” says Ballard. Further, many system vendors find the scalable software investment the key. “We offer them scalable SoCs, built on [the] same common architecture, with software-and pin-to-pin compatibility.”
Indeed, common to the SoCs across the Jacinto platform are software development kits ready for automotive, including QNX, Linux, Android operating systems, software-defined radio AM/FM radio, HD radio, DAB/DAB+/DMB, DRM, audio processing, and ecosystem partners providing middleware, application, and HMI capabilities.
In parallel, TI announced last week that its WiLink 8Q family, promoted as the world’s most advanced automotive-grade wireless connectivity devices, is now available in production quantities.
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