Rohm adds functional safety to high-res automotive displays

January 10, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The adoption of electronic display panels for instrument cluster, electronic mirrors, and other systems in the car has risen significantly. The issue: Some of these applications, like electronic mirrors replacing optical ones, are safety-critical. Therefore, the drivers have to meet the requirements of functional safety.

Rohm’s new chipsets integrate a gamma correction IC, timing controller (T-CON), source driver, and gate driver for driving HD/FHD class displays (the highest resolution currently on the market), along with a power management IC (PMIC) to ensure optimum drive operation. Each device is designed to share information as needed, achieving automotive-grade reliability and marking the first time functional safety was successfully introduced in devices for displays. Compatibility with LCDs for side mirrors and speedometers that can lead to accidents is also provided.

In addition, chipset optimization allowed Rohm to cover a wide range of specifications while at the same time integrate a Fail detection function in the timing controller to verify operation, making it possible to configure high resolution LCD panels.

Each IC configured in the chipset integrates a function for mutually selecting the expected failure mode. As a result, it is possible to complementarily detect panel failure and confirm and provide feedback on information such as input signals to the LCD as well as peeling/destruction of the LCD driver. Introducing functional safety contributes to the prevention of serious accidents caused by the malfunction of monitors for the speedometer, side mirrors, and other systems.

For example, the driver may not notice that the screen for the side mirrors has frozen in the case no object is detected at the time, presenting a danger that can lead to serious injury if someone suddenly were to go behind the car while the car is moving. To prevent this Rohm delivers functional safety that can detect if the screen is frozen.