Renesas SoC Supports 3D Graphics on Large Instrument Displays

The R-Car E3 reduces system costs and expands scalability for integrated instrument clusters up to 12.3 inches and 1,920 x 720 pixels.


By Murray Slovick, Contributing Editor

With the proliferation of LCD panels in instrument-cluster design in recent years, graphics cluster systems have become increasingly important to accurately and reliably convey instrument and infotainment information to the driver. To address this demand, Renesas Electronics extended the scalable range of its R-Car system-on-chip (SoC) devices with the introduction of the R-Car E3 for 3D graphics on the largest class of displays used for automotive instrument clusters: 12.3 inches and 1,920 × 720 pixels.

“Full graphic instrument clusters capable of displaying appropriate information to the driver precisely when it is need will become the industry’s de facto standard as self-driving capabilities and ADAS functionality advance,” says Keiichi Nagano, Executive Manager of Development at instrument cluster supplier Nippon Seiki. “This will require high-performance graphic engines with sophisticated graphic-rendering functionality as well as cybersecurity and functional safety.”

Combining 3D rendering capabilities with integrated audio DSP and other peripheral functions, the single-chip R-Car E3 supports instrument clusters as well as in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems with audio performance displays and other capabilities. Click here for E3 specifications.

The diagram shows the R-Car E3 12.3-in. full graphics cluster system. (Source: Renesas)

“R-Car” is Renesas’ lineup of SoCs ICs for car information. The R-Car E3 is step-up from Renesas’ predecessor R-Car D3 SoC for 3D graphics clusters. The new SoC also offers the functional safety and security functions that are essential for connected cars as the role of human-machine interface (HMI) becomes more important.

With these features, the R-Car E3 simplifies the task of developing systems capable of dealing safely with both malfunctions and cyberattacks. “Stringent safety and security requirements are driving the demand for instrument clusters with increasingly rich graphics capabilities to accurately display larger amounts of information to the driver,” says William Asburry, Manager, Electrical Engineering, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), in commenting on the Renesas SoC introduction.

The R-Car E3 shares the scalability of the R-Car H3 and R-Car M3 for integrated cockpits, as well as the R-Car D3 for instrument clusters, enabling considerable software reuse. Compatibility with previous products also permits the use of existing ecosystems and access to over 250 R-Car Consortium partners.

Renesas notes that its partner companies are ready to provide operating systems and HMI tools in addition to system integration support. This should greatly reduce the development burden, extending software support to a wide range of vehicles—from the premium class, which currently features the high-end 3D graphics experience, to entry-class vehicles where integrated systems and full graphics are expected to become mainstream.

Samples of the R-Car E3 SoC are available now. Mass production is scheduled to begin in December 2019, and monthly production volume is anticipated to reach a combined 100,000 units by December 2020.

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