Renesas hopes to put powerful ARM processor in cars

The processor will start shipping next year

Renesas Electronics' latest system-on-a-chip has eight ARM processing cores to help next-generation, in-car infotainment systems handle multiple streams of 1080p video and augmented reality apps.

The R-Car H2 system-on-a-chip is based on ARM's big.LITTLE architecture, which in its first iteration combines the powerful Cortex-A15 processor and the less powerful but more energy-efficient Cortex-A7 on one die. Just like Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa processor -- which will used in one version of Samsung's Galaxy S4 -- Renesas' processor uses four cores of each.

The system-on-a-chip will be able to handle four streams of 1080p video, including Blu-Ray support at 60 frames per second, image and voice recognition and high-resolution 3D graphics with almost no CPU load, according to Renesas. The graphics performance is helped by the use of Imagination Technologies' PowerVR Series6 G6400 GPU.

To improve real-time image processing, Renesas is also offering its own IMP-X4 processing core as an option to help power augmented reality applications. The R-Car H2 can be integrated with four independent cameras, which can be used for 360-degree camera views and image recognition to assist the driver.

In-car systems powered by the processor can run operating systems like QNX Neutrino RTOS (Realtime Operating System), Windows Embedded Automotive or Linux, according to Renesas.

In addition to products from Samsung and Renesas, five more implementations of the architecture will be announced by companies such as Fujitsu Semiconductor, MediaTek and CSR before the end of the year, according to ARM. The company has yet to announce who the other two are.

The first samples of the Renesas R-Car H2 became available on Monday, and mass production is tentatively scheduled for the middle of next year, the company said.

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Tags samsungRenesas ElectronicsMediaTekFujitsu SemiconductorArmCSRComponentsprocessors

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Mikael Ricknäs

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