Market Trends and Requirements for Remote Automotive Display Applications
Nobutaka Yamagishi , Socionext Europe
It is not just the number of displays in vehicles that is increasing globally, but also the size and resolution of the panels. The larger size and the resolution of the panel will open the door for new applications, and new applications always demand further enhancement of the hardware in turn; larger resolution, larger size. Therefore, it is becoming a very challenging, but interesting market for those suppliers who provide display components such as display controllers, timing controllers, source drivers, panels, and backlights.
On the other hand, the Automotive industry is currently shifting towards the domain architecture where all the different applications are executed via a central ECU. More and more functions are required to be integrated in the cockpits of the future, such as safety, high resolution support and peripheral system control. This means the central ECU must also become powerful enough to drive such multiple displays remotely.
Thus, the central ECU is getting more powerful, and the display component is becoming more demanding. This means the connection between them must also evolve: SerDes. The choice of SerDes is therefore very important not only for the technical level, but also for the architecture and the concept level.
When we look at the trend of cockpit displays nowadays, some car OEMs are showing unique “Pillar to Pillar” concepts already. And it won’t be a big surprise anymore to see, for example, 4-5 panels around the cockpit. Here we can see two fundamental requirements; high bandwidth to drive up to e.g. 8K x 1K, and a daisy chain capability, because it is very unlikely that the domain ECU is supporting 5 video outputs.
With the increase in available compute power, the domain architecture is expected to yield towards a more centralized software driven architecture, for Ethernet type structures. However, display streams with their high data bandwidth and low latency requirements will retain a dedicated data path. Nonetheless there will be significant interaction between the two areas, often sharing the same physical medium. Thus, SerDes will need to support increasing video rates as well as more generic and slower network standards such as Ethernet. For example, it will be important to consider how the display applications can be combined with camera applications in such an architecture.
Considered from such a market trend, several key requirements for SerDes can be identified; payload bandwidth, preferred standard for the sideband signal, the interface to the peripheral devices, noise robustness, etc.
We are pleased to make a presentation focusing on the display applications in order to identify several mandatory requirements for the future automotive SerDes technology, as well as the requirements and the challenges on this application.