Auto Electronics

Altera and TRS-STAR partner for scalable infotainment platform

Altera Corporation and TRS-STAR GmbH have launched PARIS, a scalable development platform for automotive infotainment applications. Altera did the development work and TRS-STAR will market the platform, which includes a pre-programmed board featuring an Altera Stratix II FPGA, a WVGA touch-screen TFT display, reference designs, software stacks and drivers, cabling, power supply, and resource CDs with documentation.

“The PARIS platform, with an FPGA at its core, offers automotive infotainment designers a single, fully scalable system platform featuring hardware, software and IP,” said Tim Colleran, vice president of Altera's consumer and automotive business unit. "This approach provides designers the ease and flexibility of choosing the IP they need for individual systems, significantly reducing design time and development costs."

Altera said it worked with more than 12 hardware and software intellectual property providers in developing the PARIS platform. Demonstration designs and a library of IP functions included in the PARIS platform are intended to help designers create differentiated infotainment products or quickly adapt products to changing market demands.

PARIS supports CAN, MOST, USB, Ethernet and SDHC interfaces and features a scalable automotive graphics system with multiple video-in and video-out functionalities, an audio processing module, and an application processor. Colleran said the platform also offers a cost reduction path via Altera's HardCopy II structured ASICs. For infotainment systems requiring fewer features, designers can scale into Altera's Cyclone(R) II and Cyclone III FPGAs.

"Traditionally, infotainment designers used different microcontrollers with often inconsistent hardware and software frameworks in their system platform," said Manfred Schwarztrauber, president of the MSC Group and general manager of TRS-STAR. "This lengthens development time and increases system cost, and also exposes customers to the risk of system obsolescence as the controller definition is not portable to future semiconductor technologies.” He added that the PARIS platform provides a comprehensive design methodology “enabling IP to be seamlessly incorporated into infotainment applications."

According to the market research firm iSuppli, the automotive infotainment market is expected to be worth more than $50 billion by 2012. "While automobile production is experiencing a steady 3% compound annual growth rate, the automotive infotainment segment is expanding much more rapidly. We forecast the automotive infotainment market, which remains largely untapped today, to experience an 8% CAGR from 2006 to 2013," said Richard Robinson, iSuppli principal analyst, automotive electronics.

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