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Low-cost MPUs to gear up future hybrid cars

Posted: 17 Oct 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microprocessor? telematics? car?

Renesas Technology Corp. has presented its microprocessor road map in the telematics market, bracing for a pair of chip technologies for future low- to high-end cars.

The company said the separate SH-NaviJ and SH-NaviX series of chip technologies will be available for 2009. Both are based on the company's 32bit SuperH processor. The SH-NaviX is intended for high-end car market, while the SH-NaviJ is expected to produce affordable car navigation systems for low- to mid-range vehicles.

Currently, Renesas has a line of processor devices for car information terminals. Both are patterned on the 32bit SuperH processor and work at speeds at 400MHz and 600MHz, according to the product's specifications.

Renesas did not elaborate the full details for SH-NaviX. But it rolled out the first SH-NaviJ device, known as the SH77721. "The 32bit SuperH processor seeks to boost the sales of navigation products by enabling the downward migration of compelling feature points that in the past couldn't be achieved,'' said Paul Sykes, MPU marketing manager, Renesas Technology America Inc.

The automotive MCU market is presently worth in the region of $5.5 billion per year, according to Strategy Analytics. Freescale, Renesas Technology, and NEC Electronics are the top three MCU suppliers to the car industry with a combined share of 60 percent.

According to the Semicast, the global market for automotive ICs is seen to grow from $20 billion in 2007 to just over $30 billion in 2015. Continued IC demand is expected in each of the major areas of the vehicle, such as the powertrain, body electronics, comfort electronics and infotainment.

Meanwhile, Renesas' SH77721 uses a 32bit, 333MHz processor. The device has 2D and 3D capacities needed to produce recognizable objects in maps and distinctive icons in the GUI. The 2D graphics library follows the specification that is GDI-sub compliant with Microsoft's Windows 1 Automotive 5.0 Service Pack 2.

The tool also has USB ver 2.0 interface, SD card host interface, GPS baseband processing module, FM multiplex decoder, and CAN in-vehicle LAN interface. To reduce chip size, the device has fewer channels for the sound interface, direct MAC and sensitive compartmented information facilities. The SH77721 device uses only one DDR2 SDRAM chip, instead of the four external DDR1 memory chips required by the previous SH7770 SH-Navi device, thus enabling reductions in system costs.

The SH77721 is housed in a 440-pin BGA package (23mm x 23mm). This package is more than 50-percent smaller than the SH7770's 520-pin (33mm x 33mm) BGA, saving circuit board space. The device is $47. It will begin sampling by Q4 2008.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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