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big.LITTLE ARM embraces automotive infotainment

Mar 26, 2013 — by Rick Lehrbaum 1,173 views

Renesas has released a second generation automotive infotainment SOC (system-on-chip). The R-Car H2 SOC’s big.LITTLE architecture combines ARM’s high-performance Cortex A-15 quad-core and power-efficient Cortex A-7 quad-core CPU subsystems on a single part, targeting the cars of 2015 and beyond.

The super-highly-integrated R-Car H2 SOC was designed to support emerging automotive infotainment requirements for high-definition instrument clusters, multiple rear seat monitors, connectivity with cloud services, and driver-assistance apps incorporating real-time video processing and augmented reality features.

According to Renesas, “there will be strong demand for fast startup capability and rendering performance, …as well as field-of-view support for the driver to establish an even higher level of safety, such as a top view monitor that displays not only the back of but all around the vehicle.”


Relative to its predecessor (the R-Car H1), the new SOC provides…

  • 25000 DMIPS performance, 2x that of the R-Car H1 and the best of any automotive infotainment SOC
  • First use of the G6400 high-performance GPU, featuring the latest PowerVR architecture for automotive applications
  • Optional inclusion of an IMP-X4 core, enabling 4x performance in OpenCV (open-source computer vision) apps
  • More interfaces required by emerging automotive apps, including: USB 3.0, Ethernet AVB (audio-video bridging), 4-channel high-def camera inputs, 3-channel video outputs

The R-Car H2’s optional IMP-X4 core, combined with the chip’s four independent camera inputs, will enable 360-degree camera views and image recognition, which are critical for emerging “driver assistance” and “augmented reality” applications requiring high speed real-time image processing, adds Renesas.

The R-Car H2 SOC’s block diagram appears below.

Renesas R-Car H2 automotive infotainment SOC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

R-Car H2 SOC features and specs

As seen below, the R-Car H2 SOC integrates an extremely long list of controllers and interfaces, with obvious applicability to its automotive infotainment orientation.

  • CPU cores:
    • ARM quad-core Cortex A-15
    • ARM quad-core Cortex A-7
  • Graphics cores:
    • PowerVR Series 6 G6400 (3D)
    • Renesas graphics processor (2D)
  • Video features:
    • Display Out × 3 ch ( 2 ch: LVDS, 1 ch: RGB888)
    • Video Input × 4 ch
    • Video codec module (H.264/AVC、MPEG-4、VC-1)
    • IP conversion module
    • JPEG accelerator
    • TS Interface × 2 ch
    • Video image processing (color conversion, image expansion, reduction, filter processing)
    • Distortion compensation module (image renderer) × 4 ch
    • High performance Real-time Image recognition processor (IMP-X4) (option)
  • Audio features:
    • Audio DSP
    • Sampling rate converter × 10 ch
    • Serial sound interface × 10 ch
  • General purpose expansion interfaces:
    • 1x PCI Express2.0 lane
    • USB 3.0 Host interface w/PHY
    • SD Host interfaces x 2 ch
    • MMC card interface × 2 ch
    • Serial ATA interface × 2 ch
  • In-car network and automotive peripherals support:
    • Media local bus (MLB) Interface × 1 ch (6 pin / 3 pin interface selectable)
    • Controller Area Network (CAN) Interface × 2 ch
    • IEBus Interface
    • GPS baseband module (Galileo, GLONASS) (option)
    • Ethernet controller AVB (IEEE802.1BA, 802.1AS, 802.1Qav and IEEE1722, GMII/MII, without PHY)
  • Security features:
    • Crypto engine (AES, DES, Hash, RSA)
    • SecureRAM
  • Other peripherals:
    • Option of LBSC DMAC (3 ch); or SYS-DMAC (30 ch); or RT-DMAC (3 ch)
    • Option of audio-DMAC (26 ch); or Audio(peripheral)-DMAC (29 ch)
    • 32-bit timer × 12 ch
    • PWM timer × 7 ch
    • I2C bus × 8 ch
    • SCIF (serial communication interface) × 10 ch
    • Quad SPI
    • Clock-synchronized serial interface (MSIOF) × 4 ch (SPI/IIS)
    • Ethernet controller (IEEE802.3u, RMII, without PHY)
    • Interrupt controller (INTC)
    • Clock generator (CPG) with built-in PLL
    • On-chip debugger interface

In addition to BSPs for Linux, QNX Neutrino, and Windows Embedded Automotive software support, drivers are available for H.264, MPEG-4, and VC-1 for video compliant with the Khronos Group’s OpenMAX IL specs, according to Renesas.

The Renesas R-Car H2 SoC is sampling now in a 831-pin FCBGA package. Volume production is scheduled for mid-2014. Further technical details are available on Renesas’s website, here.

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