Single-chip solution targets hybrid instrument clusters

August 23, 2011 // By Phil Ling
Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe has expanded its scalable line-up for instrument clusters, covering the range from MCUs for traditional clusters up to 3D graphic SoCs with the capability of driving virtual or free programmable clusters. The first device, 'Calypso', is designed as a cost-efficient single-chip solution for hybrid automotive instrument clusters - for instrument clusters embracing both electromechanical pointer instruments and electronic displays.

The MB9EF126 'Calypso' becomes the first member of Fujitsu's FCR4 family of devices to be based on the ARM Cortex-R4 core operating at up to 160MHz and offering more than 200DMips processing power. It contains intelligent support for up to 6 traditional gauges as well as the 2D graphics engine 'IRIS' to drive a colour display in the same cluster.

With its 2MB of Flash, 64KB of EEFlash and 208KB of RAM – all three protected by ECC – and the 2MB of embedded graphics RAM, Fujitsu says it addresses next-generation cluster requirements. Like the other devices of the FCR4 family, 'Calypso' contains the safety, security and power-saving feature expected by automotive customers. It is also equipped with communication interfaces supporting LIN, CAN, HS-SPI, I2S and Ethernet protocols.

This feature mix is completed by a rich set of timers, including an RTC, a sound generator, PWM and ADC channels. Autosar is supported via the MPU, a timing protection unit (TPU) and the peripheral protection unit (PPU).

Fujitsu's 2D graphics engine 'IRIS' as implemented on 'Calypso', consists of a display output with TCON, supporting 4 display layers and allowing pixel clocks up to 40MHz, a command sequencer to allow parallel running of the CPU and 'IRIS', a signature unit to support safety aspects and the 2D graphics core itself. It is optimised for low memory usage. A typical sequence of operations would be the parallel scaling, rotation and decompression of different bitmaps as the first step and then the blending of these bitmaps into one result as the second step – without the need to store the intermediate results.

First samples of the MB9EF126, which has been developed in Fujitsu's MCU Competence Centre in Langen, will become available in Q3/2011. In addition to the devices Fujitsu will provide, dedicated boards, software examples as well as the Autosar MCAL. For the 'IRIS', an API is available, which also supports functions like line