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Renesas R-Car Drives Digital Cockpits

August 24, 2021

Author: Mike Demler

Renesas’s R-Car automotive processors form a multi-tiered family that can handle digital-instrument clusters and infotainment as well as advanced driver-assistance systems (ADASs). The new Gen3e-series updates the company’s entry-level and midrange lineup, which starts with the D3e for managing basic digital-cluster functions. The next step up is the E3e, which adds audio/video capabilities well suited to low-cost infotainment systems. The entry-level chips employ 28nm technology.

The H3e and M3e are close siblings, packing most of the same cores and sporting more- advanced features targeting midrange automobile cockpits. TSMC manufactures them in 16nm technology. The H3e has octal CPUs in a Big.Little configuration, whereas the M3e has just two of the big cores, a lower-performance GPU, and half the DRAM ports. The H3e-2G and M3e-2G run their big CPUs at 2GHz, delivering a performance boost relative to their predecessors, which max out at 1.7GHz. The new H3Ne and M2Ne include fewer I/Os, but they ship in packages that reduce PCB-manufacturing costs. These lower-cost processors are also available in 2GHz speed grades.

A unique feature of all Gen3e R-Car chips is the lockstep Cortex-R7 CPUs that serve as real-time controllers for safety- and time-sensitive functions. The R7s replace a separate MCU for communications with the CANbus, and they also provide hardware isolation to run a backup graphics subsystem, ensuring that critical instrument displays and warning messages are unaffected by failures in the primary GPU subsystem. The company is now sampling six Gen3e models, and it expects to begin volume production in 2Q22.

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