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Freescale chips drive entertainment in Ford cars

Posted: 14 Sep 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:automotive applications processor? i.MX processors? graphics accelerator?

Freescale Semiconductor has released two auto-grade versions of the i.MX31 applications processor. Achieving the AEC Q-100 qualification, the processors provide OEMs with a rugged solution to enable the features that drivers demand: hands-free phone operation, voice recognition and high-speed data transfers of voice and media. The processors drive seamless connectivity between consumer devices, such as cellphones or portable media players, and the automotive environment.

Earlier this year, Ford and Microsoft announced the SYNC in-car communication and entertainment system, which is the first automotive application to be based on an i.MX31 processor. Ford 2008 model cars featuring the SYNC system are expected to be available in the U.S. later this month.

Smart, fast chip
Based on the ARM11 platform, the i.MX31 processors run high-performance in-vehicle communication and infotainment systems while providing up to 400MHz processing speed and efficient memory systems, including L2 cache. Meeting the stringent specifications of the AEC standard helps to ensure Freescale customers that the auto-grade i.MX31 processors will deliver a consistent level of quality and reliability within the demanding automotive environment.

The i.MX31 processors are equipped with dedicated multimedia accelerators to allow the processing power of the ARM11 core to be used for consumer-oriented software, navigation and other tasks. An example is the use of Freescale's proprietary image processing unit to conduct rearview camera and viewfinder tasks with no central processing unit intervention. The i.MX31 processors operate at very low power, minimizing heat build-up in the dashboard.

Great dashboard experience
Freescale's i.MX31 applications processors are engineered to deliver a robust CPU for customers to capitalize on for their differentiating software. According to Freescale, the chip provides excellent recognition performance due to its efficient memory architecture and the vector floating point unit.

The i.MX31 auto-grade processors are equipped to run multiple OS and application frameworks to support the the needs of market and automotive OEMs. OS support for Microsoft Windows CE, Linux OS, QNX Neutrino and other leading RTOS environments are provided.

The i.MX31 processors were enhanced to meet the rugged quality and reliability standards of automotive OEMs. For example, the auto-grade i.MX31 devices feature CPU speeds up to 400MHz and the ability to operate within -40C to 85C temperature range. The processors come in a 473 MAPBGA, 0.8mm pitch, RoHS compliant package.

The i.MX31 processor family leverages Freescale's Smart Speed technology architecture, enabling designers to achieve parallelism that results in a low effective cycles per instruction (eCPI) metric and increased power efficiency. System parallelism is accomplished via the 6x5 Smart Speed crossbar switch that nearly eliminates wait states and enables the processor to drive equivalent performance to processors with clock speeds up to 3GHz, but without the power consumption penalty that goes with higher operating frequencies.

The i.MX31 auto-grade processors are shipping in volume today. Suggested resale price for 10,000-unit quantity is $21.80 for the i.MX31LC version and $24.86 for the i.MX31C processor version with on-chip 3-D graphics accelerator.

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