Freescale pitches Vybrid MCU line to automotive infotainment

June 20, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At its Technology Forum in San Antonio, chipmaker Freescale Semiconductor has introduced extensions of its Vybrid controller solutions portfolio which aim at automotive applications. The company rolls silicon-enabled software designed to bring connected radios, entry-level infotainment systems and reconfigurable instrument clusters to mainstream automobiles.

In-car audio systems are evolving from basic radio and CD players to connected systems that provide entertainment and information from a variety of sources. Consumers are growing to expect advanced features in their new vehicles, including voice command, smartphone integration and interactive, streaming audio.

“With smart mobile devices in the hands of almost every consumer, expectations for connectivity in cars are rapidly increasing,” said Ray Cornyn, vice president of Freescale's automotive microcontroller (MCU) business. “Vybrid automotive solutions help expand the functionality of driver information systems, at price points suitable for mainstream vehicles."

Vybrid automotive devices address up to 80 percent of an automaker's development needs with production-grade software and comprehensive enablement support, reducing the total software investment and effort required and speeding time to market.

According to the Genivi Alliance, infotainment development costs range on average from $20 to $50 million, with software costs already accounting for more than half of the cost and expected to continue to grow in the future. Vybrid automotive solutions provide everything designers need to quickly go from concept to market, Freescale promises. This includes automotive-grade board support packages (BSPs) based on the MQX and Linux operating systems, production-ready application software, pre-integrated partner software, reference designs, application notes, leading development environments and a rich ecosystem of third-party and open-source resources.

The company's recently announced Vybrid controller solutions are built on a asymmetrical-multiprocessing-architecture platform that leverages the company's heritage as a leader in microcontroller (MCU) development and multicore design. The Vybrid platform integrates the ARM Cortex-A and Cortex-M cores, reducing complexity and cost while increasing system security for automotive applications. The new Vybrid controller solutions, along with i.MX applications processors, give Freescale a wider breadth of scalable solutions based on ARM architecture to cover infotainment solutions ranging from basic and connected radio up to high-end, multi-core infotainment systems with best in class graphics capabilities.

In addition, Freescale has teamed up with select industry-leading partners that have