Automotive chips are integrated for digital instruments

For digital instrument clusters and audio/video/navigation head units, ST Microelectronics has introduced the Accordo 5 family of automotive processors.

According to the company, they meet display-performance and security demands in a low-power, compact platform suitable for lower-cost vehicles..

Accordo 5 devices provide features such as smartphone mirroring that gives access to content such as music and navigation services on the phone safely through the vehicle’s own user interface. The processor and video and graphics engines can present complex information displays, such as simultaneous user-interface plus rear-view camera with navigation and video preview. There is also video playback for major formats including H.264 and DivX, 2D and 3D graphics with effects such as blending and overlays, as well as USB connections and SD-card interfaces.

Less visible to users, but just as important, the Accordo 5 chips integrate a high-performance microcontroller that secures the interface between the head unit and the main vehicle network. Built-in features of this microcontroller include boot-code authentication, secure interconnect, and high-performance data encryption.

The conventional dials, switches, and indicator lamps can be replaced with graphical instrumentation, to give drivers convenient access to information about the vehicle and surroundings, says the company. Digital head units can enhance safety and convenience.

The Accordo 5 family leverages ARM Cortex-A7 processor as the main computing CPU. The Cortex-A7 architecture is area-efficient, and therefore cost-effective, with high processing and memory-streaming performance. There is a choice of single-core Cortex A7 with a 16bit interface to high-performing off-chip DDR3, or dual-core Cortex-A7 with a 16- or 32bit DDR3 interface.

Targeting mid-range vehicle markets, the 500MHz 3D graphics processor core supports 2D and 3D graphics up to 1080p resolution, in formats like OpenVG, OpenGLES-2.0. It is capable of effects such as flexible blending of up to four layers with multiple modes and video overlay. The multi-format video subsystem provides post-processing for effects such as picture-in-picture, and, for audio, there is an audio DSP, six stereo-audio analogue channels, and support for multiple industry-standard audio interfaces. The built-in display controller supports TFT-LCD touch panels up to Full HD definition.

A dedicated ARM Cortex-M based microcontroller manages the secure CAN interface between digital instruments and the main vehicle network. This microcontroller integrates three CAN ports including support for the latest CAN FD high-speed standard, a hardware accelerator for crypto algorithms including SHA-2, PK and AES, and one-time-programmable (OTP) memory for master-key storage and tamper prevention.

Additional advances include increased thermal dissipation versus execution performance, which helps simplify thermal management for optimum reliability, as well as flexible signal routing that simplifies audio design.

The Accordo 5 family comprises the STA1275, STA1285, and STA1295, which is in sampling phase now. The STA1295 with dual-core Cortex-A7 processor is available in a 19 x 19 x 1.7mm LFBGA529 package.


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