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TI unveils MCUs for car instrument cluster apps

Posted: 27 Oct 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Texas Instruments? TI? TMS470? DaVinci? OMAP?

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) has announced an expansion of its 32bit TMS470 MCU platform, offering new devices for instrument cluster host controller applications. As the amount of information displayed in vehicles increasesfrom enhanced vehicle diagnostics and driver assistance features such as rear park assist cameras, to digital media and full real-time navigation systemsdrivers demand higher performance graphics and more highly integrated displays. To meet this challenge, new TMS470PLFx MCUs are targeted for systems with up to six stepper motors and are tightly coupled with TI's OMAP33x and DaVinci TMS320DM64x-based graphics controller to drive high-resolution LCD and TFT displays.

'Top-notch' graphics
With the recent advances in vehicle digital display technology, traditional analog gauges complement, and in some instances, are being entirely replaced by digital displays. Consumers who are accustomed to high-performance graphics in their PCs and handheld devices demand no less from their vehicles displays.

The new generation of TMS470 MCUs for cluster applications promise to help developers build highly integrated cluster solutions that use a color graphics display controller with the real-time performance and versatility inherent in OMAP and DaVinci technology. TMS470PLFx MCUs can directly drive small segment LCDs through its embedded 128-segment LCD controller, while the use of peripheral modules such as the High-End Timer (HET), Direct Memory Access Controller (DMA), and Multi-Buffered SPI (MibSPI) allow the TMS470PLFx instrument cluster MCU family to directly drive some other types of digital displays with no CPU load impact. The TMS470PLFx MCUs can also drive up to six stepper motors directly through the use of its intelligent peripherals, and supports modulated frequency and slew rate control to reduce EMI.

TI said its OMAP Platform is comprised of high-performance, power efficient processors, a robust software infrastructure and a comprehensive support network for the rapid development of differentiated multimedia-enhanced devices. Based on an ARM926 processing core, the OMAP33x applications processor platform includes advanced multimedia performance, an 18bit LCD controller, a 2D graphics accelerator engine, robust frame buffer performance, a high-throughput DMA interface and several other features for graphics and streaming video applications.

The DM64x architecture is a highly integrated SoC that has absorbed many external components required for digital video. Based on DaVinci technology, this architecture includes multimedia codecs, multiple display output types and robust frameworks for rapid development of high-performance graphics systems, TI said, giving cluster manufacturers powerful capabilities to bring new digital graphic and video products to market.

Wide display support
Scalability and compatibility of designs across automotive platforms give cluster system designers the flexibility to address ever-changing market requirements during all phases of development. The suite of intelligent peripherals and common architecture across TMS470 devices allows for more efficient development and an overall reduced system cost. In addition, the ability to use a single graphics library on all devices for image rendering offers developers the same look and feel at the API level across processors. This feature ensures that developers' graphics software is extremely scalable from low- to high-end clusters, helping reduce time to market and development costs. The TMS470 MCU instrument cluster platform is also pin-for-pin compatible for reduced hardware redesign.

Developers can start designing with TMS470 MCUs, OMAP or DaVinci DM64x processors today with evaluation modules, starter kits and demonstration platforms along with compatible software from TI and leading third parties, including Lauterbach, iSYSTEMS, TES, Altia, Sophia, ETAS, and Vector. Automotive manufacturers and OEMs can obtain pricing, hardware and software tools pricing from their local TI sales office. TMS470PLFx and OMAP33x devices are available in samples today with the DaVinci DM64x processors available in Q4 2006.

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