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Android automotive system features three displays

May 22, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,467 views

Mitsubishi’s “FlexConnect.IVI” automotive system runs Android on a TI Jacinto 6 SoC, and drives IVI, HUD, and cluster displays simultaneously.

The trouble with most in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems is that they’re mounted in the center of the dashboard, and therefore not ideally located for the driver. Yet the display also needs to be accessible from the front seat passenger. Mitsubishi Electric’s FlexConnect.IVI system follows the trend of integrating IVI screens with a separate GUI instrument cluster, and also adds a third GUI heads-up display (HUD) display projected against the windshield for greater driver safety.

The three displays of FlexConnect.IVI
(click image to enlarge)

The three integrated displays, which are said to support a combination of swipe and touchscreen input, include:
  • 12.1-inch, 1280 x 800 portrait mode center panel IVI touchscreen from MDTI (Mitsubishi Display Technologies Inc.)
  • 12.3-inch, 1920 x 720 instrument cluster
  • 480 x 240 heads-up display

The center touchscreen is said to share navigation, media, and climate control functionality with the instrument panel and heads-up display. In addition to integrating three physical displays, the center screen itself offers three screen modes to make it easier and safer for drivers to quickly find what they need, says Mitsubishi. A one-third screen display offers navigation only, while the half-screen display adds media player functionality, and the full screen adds climate controls.

Close-up view of FlexConnect.IVI cluster and IVI displays
(click image to enlarge)

The FlexConnect.IVI system is based on Android, and while it’s said to let you “easily share content between passenger entertainment systems and outside devices such as tablets or phones,” as can Android Auto, there is no mention of Google’s automotive spec. A 9to5google report that alerted us to FlexConnect.IVI says the system is not compliant with the Android Auto, for which Mitsubishi previously announced support. The story speculates that the product will ship in Mitsubishi’s 2016 vehicles.

The FlexConnect.IVI runs its Android stack on a Texas Instruments Jacinto 6 system-on-chip. This would appear to be one of the new DRA75x versions, which adds support for controlling an instrumentation cluster display in addition to IVI. The Jacinto 6 combines two Cortex-A15 cores with four Cortex-M4 cores, along with a pair of Imagination Technologies SGX544 3D GPUs, Vivante’s 2D GC320 GPU, and other coprocessors.

Block diagram for the most advanced “Ex” version of TI’s new Jacinto 6 DRA75x SoC
(click image to enlarge)

In addition to the standard TMS320C66x VLIW floating-point DSP for software-defined radio (SDR), and audio and speech-processing, the DRA75x version adds a second 1.4GHz, TMS320C66x DSP that offers 22 GFLOPS and 60 GMACS performance, according to TI. The DSP supports image manipulation tasks such as dynamically stitching multiple cameras into a single, surround, or overhead view, says the company. The second DSP is also said to enable augmented radio configurations, such as multi-tuner, multi-modal configurations leveraging antenna diversity and background scanning.

Mitsubishi’s FlexConnect.IVI joins a family of FlexConnect devices including FlexConnect.RSE, FlexConnect.ANC, and FlexConnect.RSE (Rear Seat Entertainment). The new system also joins a growing number of Android-based IVI systems such as Renault’s Android-based R-Link and Parrot’s aftermarket RNB6 and SOCA Simple Box.

“Similar systems using multi-processor architectures would struggle to achieve a similar cohesive user experience,” stated Gareth Williams, manager, Strategic Technologies, Audio, Video & Communications, Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the FlexConnect.IVI. More information may be found in Mitsubishi’s FlexConnect.IVI announcement.

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