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ADAS dev board runs Linux on octa-core SoC

Jul 21, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,367 views

Renesas unveiled a Linux-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) starter kit based on its R-Car H2 SoC, supporting PCIe, HDMI, and multiple cameras.

Japanese semiconductor firm Renesas Electronics has long supported its system-on-chips with Linux, including its ARM-based R-Car SoCs for the automotive market. The company has now launched what it calls “the smallest R-Car-based development kit to date” — a 100 x 100mm ADAS Starter Kit featuring its octa-core Cortex-A15 and -A7 “R-Car H2” SoC.

R-Car H2 ADAS Starter Kit
(click image to enlarge)

Like other R-Car development boards, including ADAS boards based on its dual Cortex-A15 core R-Car V2H SoC, the ADAS Starter Kit and its H2 SoC run on a Yocto Project-based Linux distribution. The more advanced H2-based board, which is said to be complementary to the V2H based board, is designed for prototyping ADAS systems with enhanced computer vision. The board ships with 2 GB of DDR3 RAM, 64MB of QSPI flash, and a microSD slot. Other features include Ethernet and HDMI ports, and a connector for a camera module.

An integrated extension connector supports interfaces like PCI Express (PCIe), as well as more displays outputs. The connector also provides four camera channel inputs for ADAS surround view and other ADAS features such as image recognition.

Renesas has yet to post a product page for the board, but the press release points to for more information on the Linux distribution. There, one can find a product page for what appears to be an identical 95 x 95mm “Renesas R-Car H2 Stout” board with a photo that has an additional ADAS Starter Kit label.

Renesas R-Car H2 “Stout” ADAS Starter Kit detail view
(click images to enlarge)

In addition to the aforementioned features, including a 10/100 Ethernet port and a 440-pin expansion connector, the Stout board features a video input, a USB 2.0 host port, and both JTAG and serial debug ports. The Stout board has a 15V, 1.2A power supply.

The ADAS Starter Kit’s R-Car H2 SoC was announced in early 2013. It combines four Cortex-A15 with four Cortex-A7 cores, coordinated with ARM’s Big.Little technology. Instead of the standard octa-core H2 model available in the ADAS Starter Kit, H2 customers can opt for a quad-core version without the -A7 cores, as well as one that adds the venerable Reneasas SH-4A RISC processor.

R-Car H2 block diagram (left) and R-Car SoC roadmap
(click images to enlarge)

The 25,000 DMIPS R-Car H2 SoC is accompanied by a PowerVR Series6 G6400 GPU, providing support for OpenGL ES 2.0 and 3.0. The ADAS Starter Kit includes the H2’s optional Renesas IMP-X4 core, which provides real-time image processing and OpenCV support.

The automotive industry is quickly moving to more and more advanced ADAS features, expanding beyond adaptive cruise control to blind-spot monitoring, night vision, lane-keeping assist, collision warning, and even automated avoidance maneuvers. Google and some others, however, pose a minority view for a more abrupt leap to fully autonomous self-driving cars. Insurance companies back both approaches as being safer than cars without any automation, but more data will be required to determine which is safer.

Further information

The Renesas R-Car H2 based ADAS Starter Kit is available for pre-order at an unstated price, with shipments starting in October. More information may be found in the Renesas press release and the page for the Renesas R-Car H2 Stout board.

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