Video data cruncher has almost no latency

September 09, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
High-resolution cameras are increasingly used in vehicles as sensors – for pedestrian detection, environmental surveillance and parking assistance. And increasingly these cameras stream their images to the processing unit through Ethernet AVB connections. Chipmaker Renesas now has developed a SoC that enables designers to directly link the cameras to the processing infrastructure. The chip compresses video images with a latency of just one millisecond.

The new R-Car T2 complements Renesas’ R-Car product family typically used in infotainment, instrument cluster and driver assistance system applications. It the delivery of high-resolution camera video through multiple systems while maintaining real-time performance with low latency levels. These capabilities are key to providing the “surround view” monitoring and obstacle detection applications that contribute to safe driving experiences.

Initially used for rear-view functionality and parking assistance applications, the use of vehicle cameras has since expanded to support 360-degree “surround view” functionality that expands what is seen by the system to every direction around the vehicle, helping to improve driver safety. To further optimize safety, vehicle camera video is also now being used in driver assist systems for braking, steering and providing obstacle detection warnings, for instance when changing lanes. These systems demand substantially higher processing performance to handle the expanded range of image recognition targets and increased processing load imposed by multiple cameras with higher pixel counts. In such environments, Ethernet AVB offers features such as guaranteed bandwidth and synchronization of multiple cameras simultaneously, and a system involving additional cameras that can be flexibly upgraded. Moving forward, Ethernet AVB is expected to become the mainstream technology for automotive high-speed networking.

The R-Car T2 supports multiple standards, including IEEE 802.1AS, IEEE802.1Qav, IEEE802.1Qat, and IEEE1722 standards. The R-Car T2 SoC has a built-in H.264 encoder developed exclusively by Renesas to provide low-latency compression while maintaining real-time high-quality HD video (1,280 × 960) transfer. Video can be compressed with very low latency of less than 1 ms and delivered to multiple vehicle systems.

The Ethernet AVB standard also supports the use of Power over Ethernet (PoE), in which power is supplied over transmission lines. This reduces or eliminates the need for separate power supplies or dedicated cables for individual modules.

Samples of the R-Car T2 SoC are available now. Mass production of the R-Car T2 is scheduled to begin in December 2016 and