USB Hub Chips Allow Flexible Infotainment Options

Christoph Hammerschmidt, Contributing Editor
This article previously appeared on eenewsautomotive.com. It is reposted here with permission.

With five new USB smart hub ICs, Microchip significantly increases design options for car electronics manufacturers. The chips are designed to provide a reliable, intelligent connection between the car’s display and one or more smartphones or tablets and meet consumer demand for easy-to-use, intuitive systems.

The devices enable multiple architectures, so manufacturers can implement their design of choice to interface with all major smartphone operating systems. These systems allow the graphical user interface of the phone or tablet to be displayed on the vehicle’s screen and enable integration with voice commands inside the car, all while simultaneously charging the mobile devices. They also enable driver assistance applications on mobile handsets to be integrated with a vehicle’s infotainment system.

USB Smart Hub

The chips are designed to provide a reliable, intelligent connection between the car’s display and one or more smartphones or tablets.

Microchip’s new smart hub ICs enable cascading of the hubs to the second- and third-row seats with simultaneous data and charging in all ports. For example, if there are dual USB ports, one port can connect the phone or tablet to the head unit, leaving the other port free to charge and upload/download data. With the company’s new USB4914, USB4916, USB4925, and USB4927 smart hub ICs, automotive electronics providers can customize solutions to meet their design needs. As the car becomes more of an entertainment environment, manufacturers can create solutions that allow consumers, for example, to use one phone for navigation and another for music or video.

The new USB4715, USB4914, USB4916, USB4925 and USB4927 USB 2.0 smart hub ICs provide a range of specific USB configurations including single- and dual-bus implementations for optimal connection to infotainment systems. All devices operate with standard USB drivers present in most automotive head units for faster development, system validation and field updates. Each device also contains an integrated 32-bit microcontroller for advanced bridging, audio application support, and USB Power Delivery (USB PD).

A demonstration application board and evaluation board are available for each of the new USB 2.0 smart hub ICs. The demonstration application board emulates a system that a tier one supplier or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) would use in their application. Microchip also provides a USB Power Delivery application showing charging for the USB PD 3.0 specification.

The USB4715, USB4914 and USB4925 are offered in a 48-pin QFN package and the USB4916 and USB4927 in a 64-pin QFN package.

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Example of infotainment, a girl watches tv in a car.