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Delivering Higher Resolution at Lower Cost

John Day

John Day

Posted Apr 11, 2014

In my last post I noted the launch by Freescale and Broadcom of a single-chip automotive microcontroller (MCU) that supports compact video compression and fast transmission of video data throughout a vehicle over unshielded twisted pair cabling. The firms said cabling weight could be reduced by up to 30% and connectivity costs reduced by up to 80%.

But wait, there’s more. Cable weight in cars is quite a big deal, and this week Freescale and Maxim Integrated Products both announced products to support higher resolution displays for automotive infotainment and/or advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and simultaneously reduce cabling costs.

Freescale introduced a new family of ARM® Cortex®-based single-chip, triple-core MCUs, the MAC57D5xx. The devices support complex graphics, including heads-up displays that previously required multiple components, e.g., a main processor, graphics unit, external SRAM, and dedicated circuitry.

Freescale said the cost and complexity of all that restricted the benefits to premium cars but now head-up displays and the like should be affordable for mid- and economy-tier segments.

“With automotive system integration at an all-time high, OEMs and their suppliers are focused on consolidating large amounts of driver information and increasing the quality of graphics in dashboards, while keeping safety and security as the first concern,” said Ray Cornyn, vice president of Product Management and Global Marketing for Freescale’s Automotive MCU business.

Taking a different approach, Maxim introduced a family of Gigabit Multimedia Serial Link (GMSL) serializer/ deserializer (SerDes) chipsets that can be used either with shielded twisted pair (STP) or with lighter and less costly coax cabling for high-resolution ADAS or central and rear-seat displays. Maxim estimates that coax can cut cable weight and cost by up to 50%. The SerDes chipsets can drive 1920×720 pixel displays with 24-bit color, and can drive up to 15 meters of cable.

“Consumers are increasingly considering connectivity and infotainment capability in their automobile buying decisions,” said Nina Turner, Research Manager at IDC. “Automotive manufacturers will need to cost-effectively deliver high-resolution video to infotainment displays.”

automotive infotainment, Broadcom, Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), Maxim Integrated Products, microcontrollers, Freescale Semiconductor, head-up displays

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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