Silicon Labs enhances automotive tuner family with SDR technology

July 29, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Silicon Labs enhances automotive tuner family with SDR technology
Car makers and infotainment system suppliers are facing an increasing dilemma: Cars are increasingly integrated into radio networks, but worldwide frequency bands and radio specifications for services vary considerably. Software Defined Radios (SDR) are seen as a solution. Chip manufacturer and communications specialist Silicon Labs is now following this path as well.

At the same time, the new Si479x7 devices are the company‘s first automotive radio tuners supporting the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard. These tuners are an extension the company’s family of Global Eagle and Dual Eagle AM/FM receivers and digital radio tuners, providing pin and package compatibility between single and dual tuners, and bill of materials (BOM) cost advantages.

In addition to introducing new DRM-capable tuners, Silicon Labs is enhancing its Si4790x/5x/6x automotive tuners with unique “SDR-friendly” technology, effectively transforming these devices into hybrid SDR tuners. Silicon Labs’ hybrid SDR technology includes advanced DSP-based automotive features such as Maximal Ratio Combining (MRC), Digital Automatic Gain Control (AGC), Digital Radio Fast Detect and Dynamic Zero-IF (ZIF) I/Q. These features enable automotive radio manufacturers to support global digital radio standards with a common radio hardware and software design.

Digital radio standards are a primary source of in-vehicle infotainment, providing improved reception, greater coverage and CD-like audio quality. The DRM standard offers a high-quality digital replacement for current analog radio standards operating in the AM and FM/VHF bands. DRM supports two frequency bands: DRM30, operating up to 30 MHz, and DRM+, operating up to 300 MHz. DRM30 is prevalent in India, where more than one million cars include DRM receivers, and DRM+ trials are underway in Russia and South Africa. HD Radio and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) are predominant standards in the U.S. and Europe respectively.

Samples and production quantities of the new Si479x7 DRM hybrid SDR tuners are available now. To accelerate development, Silicon Labs provides evaluation kits for designs based on Global Eagle and Dual Eagle tuners.

More information: silabs.com/globaleagle.


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