Fujitsu announces new graphics controller with integrated APIX®2 interface for automotive applications

Improved performance for transmission of encrypted video and control data with a new single-chip solution with integrated APIX®2 and HDCP interfaces

Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe (FSEU) has announced the latest addition to its graphics controller range: a highly-integrated, single-chip graphics solution for automotive display systems. MB88F334 ‘Indigo2’ is a new graphics controller with an integrated APIX®2 interface that has been optimised for automotive applications such as instrument clusters, central display and entertainment systems and next-generation head-up displays. What makes Fujitsu’s new controller really unique is the high level of throughput it achieves for copy-protected image and control data. In combination with data transfer via Ethernet, the controller is turned into a purpose-built, yet flexible component for demanding, in-vehicle graphical applications.

Improvements to performance and security
At the heart of the MB88F334 ‘Indigo2’ lies the serial APIX®2 interface from Inova Semiconductors – an interface capable of shuttling image and control data between control unit and display at 3 Gb/s. This new standard in image and peripheral data throughput meets the requirements of the very latest in-vehicle display applications, especially where improved performance is needed while keeping implementation costs low. Other features include an option for transmitting video data using HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) encryption in order to protect copyright, plus Ethernet communication via APIX®.

Additional peripheral functionality such as stepping motor control, pulse-width modulators, ADCs, I2C, UARTs and a sound generator are also integrated into the MB88F334 ‘Indigo2’. With these features, the component covers all of the peripheral functions required by a display subsystem. Typical applications for these interfaces include dashboard display instrumentation, background lighting control, LEDs, sensors and on-board communication.

Reducing system costs
Since the MB88F334 ‘Indigo2’ requires no external memory, it makes a key contribution to optimising material costs for centralised data displays and other display-based systems. Graphics processing is based on the line buffer principle, which eliminates the need for expensive (internal or external) frame buffer storage. In addition, the integrated flash storage can also be used to store icons without requiring external components. To further reduce system costs, direct display connections via LVDS, RSDS or TTL, 5V automotive interfaces and an analogue front end for the APIX®2 link are also part of this solution.

Other features of the MB88F334 ‘Indigo2’ include integrated storage, automotive I/Os, the QFP housing and an extended operational range (-40°C to 105°C), which significantly reduces the number of external components and thus system costs.

Graphics quality optimised
The embedded pixel engine supports a range of colour depths with a resolution of 1/2/4/8 bpp (indirect) or 16/24 bpp and can utilise the APIX® video stream to overlay RLE-decoded background graphics. The pixel engine is controlled by command lists so that pre-assembled control sequences can be triggered automatically.

The MB88F334 ‘Indigo2’ supports high-resolution panels – controllable via the LVDS, TTL or RSDS signalling protocols – in a range of resolutions and frame rates. In addition, further reductions to the BOM (and hence system costs) are possible by connecting the displays directly to the integrated TCON, enabling these to be operated without any external control logic. The component also features a signature module for security aspects, gamma functionality for optimising the image quality, layer cross-fade and automated fade-in/-out.

MB88F334 ‘Indigo2’ product samples will be available from the end of 2012. A specialised evaluation board, software drivers and sample programs will also be available in the same time frame.