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Renesas and its partners push high-end infotainment

John Day

John Day

Posted Mar 28, 2013

Renesas made a rather significant announcement this week, launching the newest system-on-chip (SoC) in its R-Car series. It refers to the device – the R-Car H2 – as “a complete solution for next-generation high-end multimedia and navigation” with “high performance and state-of-the-art 3D graphics capabilities.”

The performance comes in part from ARM’s big.LITTLE processing technology, which in this case combines an ARM® Cortex™A-15 quad-core configuration running an additional ARM® Cortex™A-7 quad-core. Renesas says it’s the first implementation of Quad ARM® Cortex A15 big.LITTLE processing in an automotive SoC. The big.LITTLE scheme combines slower, lower-power cores with faster, more power-hungry ones. Renesas says the R-Car H2 is capable of delivering more than 25,000 DMIPS, and it leverages Renesas Mobile’s experience with mobile products to minimize power consumption.

The R-Car H2 also marks the first automotive SoC implementation of Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR Series6 G6400 Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). The GPU supports open technologies like OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenGL ES 3.0, and OpenCL.

Media hardware accelerators enable features like 4 x HD 1080p video en/decoding including Blu-Ray support at 60 frames per second, image/voice recognition and high-resolution 3D graphics without adding appreciably to the CPU load. Renesas’ IMP-X4 core is an option said to provide real-time image processing for augmented reality, and along with that the R-Car H2 supports up to four independent input camera channels for 360° camera views and image recognition.

For multitasking, the R-Car H2 has two independent DDR3-1600 32-bit interfaces, which Renesas says is better than a single 64-bit DDR interface for accessing different content simultaneously. Dedicated CPU and IP caches reduce DDR3 memory bandwidth consumption.

Expanding ecosystem

Renesas executive manager Ryuji Omura says first-generation R-Car devices have been well accepted in the infotainment market. The second generation is aimed at “further expansion of the ecosystem with a number of our partners including embedded OS, middleware and tool vendors.” Partner solutions enable quick prototyping and reduction of product development costs. In its announcement Renesas listed 20 partners including (in alphabetical order) Elektrobit, Mentor Graphics, Microsoft, QNX Software Systems, and Wind River.

Renesas, QNX Software Systems, Wind River, Blu-Ray, Elektrobit, ARM, Mentor Graphics, Microsoft, Imagination Technologies, Infotainment

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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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