Yazaki's new instrument-cluster platform features two- and three-dimensional graphics in a reconfigurable driver's information-display prototype developed by the company's technical specialists in six months.
"We will reuse elements from this instrument-cluster prototype in customer-specified designs and then verify and validate the final design," said Michael Boyd, Engineering Manager of Display Technology and Advanced Development for Yazaki North America Inc. "Our customers can specify the mechanical outline, communications interface, display size as well as other elements, and Yazaki will build a customized instrument cluster to meet their needs."
Yazaki's prototype cluster module uses a Freescale Semiconductor MPC5121e processor connected to a high-resolution thin-film transistor (TFT) liquid crystal display (LCD).
"The Yazaki instrument-cluster design is not the first instrument-cluster application based on the MPC5121e," noted John Vincent, Product Marketing, Microcontroller Solutions Group for Freescale Semiconductor. "Other Tier 1 automotive suppliers have created cluster designs with the MPC5121e, some of which have been designed into automobiles that will arrive on the market in 2010 and later."
The Yazaki functional prototype instrument cluster uses an embedded Linux operating system and an OpenGL ES graphics driver. "This prototype is the first time Yazaki used Linux OS and OpenGL with a standard graphics interface in the development of an instrument cluster," said Boyd. "As such, we realized a flexible application that offers reusability and hardware platform independence. In our demonstration prototype, the instrument cluster packages a TFT LCD with tunnel overlays to create perceived depth and defined regions for the content."
Appropriate for hybrid- and all-electric vehicles, the prototype instrument cluster can display battery charge/discharge information, electrical mode efficiency, distance-to-empty projection based on available battery energy and fuel, electrical motor power output, and other relevant system information. "In developing the prototype cluster, the graphics process involved storyboarding all the screens, designing all the graphical images, and then implementing all of that onto the system using the OpenGL," said Boyd.
In addition to accommodating standard vehicle power and data interfaces, USB and video input can be supported by the prototype instrument cluster. "An array of custom configurations are possible, including alternative background images, navigation, hybrid vehicle performance screens, audio album art, and video camera input," said Boyd.