Automotive Semiconductor

Renesas reveals next-gen automotive processor plan

TOKYO, Japan, November 7, 2023 ― Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE:6723), laid out plans for its fifth-generation R-Car SoC with in-package chiplet integration technology. This will provide automotive engineers flexibility to customize their designs. For example, if more AI performance is required in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), engineers will have the capability to integrate AI accelerators into a single chip.

The company also shared its plans for two forthcoming MCU product advancements in the next-generation R-Car family. The company has designed One, a new crossover MCU series that delivers the high performance needed for domain and zone electronic control units (ECU) in next-generation E/E architectures. Moreover, use these architectures in automobiles. These MCUs are expected to close the performance gap between traditional MCUs and the advanced R-Car SoCs. Secondly, the company announced plans to introduce a separate MCU platform tailored for the vehicle control market. Both of these MCUs will be powered by Arm® architectures and are set to become an integral part of the industry-leading R-Car family. They will offer complete scalable options and software reusability for automotive engineers.

As part of its roadmap, Renesas plans to offer a virtual software development environment. The auto industry’s move toward a shift left approach aligns with this environment, as widely known. These software tools will allow customers to design and test software earlier in the development process.

“This roadmap comes after years of collaboration and discussions with Tier 1 and OEM customers,” said Vivek Bhan, Senior Vice President, Co-General Manager of High Performance Computing, Analog and Power Solutions Group at Renesas. “What our customers have been telling us is that they need to be able to accelerate development without compromising quality. This means they must design and verify their software even before hardware arrives. We will help them realize this goal by continuing to invest in shift left and software-first innovations, deploying new scalable embedded processors. We will also bolster our vast network of development tools.”

Fifth-Generation R-Car SoC Platform

Until the fourth generation, the R-Car SoCs were designed for specific use cases, such as ADAS/Autonomous Driving that requires high AI performance. They designed for gateway solutions with enhanced communication capabilities. Renesas’ fifth-generation R-Car SoC will incorporate chiplet technology, creating a flexible platform. Can customize this platform to meet various requirements for each use case. The new platform will offer multiple processor sets from entry-level to higher-end models. It can integrate a variety of IP such as AI accelerators and IP by partners and customers into a single package. This will give users the option to customize designs according to their needs.

Two New Arm-based MCU Platforms for Vehicle Control Applications 

As E/E architecture in vehicles continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly important for domain control units (DCUs) and zone control units to handle high computing performance. It is also crucial for them to manage real-time processing. Renesas addresses this challenge by developing an Arm-based 32-bit crossover R-Car MCU platform with built-in NVM (Non Volatile Memory). This platform can deliver higher performance than traditional MCUs currently offer.

Furthermore, to enhance the success that the RH850 Family MCUs have achieved, Renesas is also expanding its vehicle control portfolio with a new R-Car MCU series, which will also run on Arm. This means for the first time, automotive system developers will be able to take advantage of the software and vast eco-system of Arm. They can do this by using these new MCUs to build powertrain, body control, chassis, and instrument cluster systems. This expansion will allow Renesas to standardize IP between MCUs and SoCs. This will increase software usability and preserve engineering investments for its customers.

Renesas plans to release new products subsequently from 2024 onward, following this roadmap.

Software Development Environment

As automotive software grows in size and complexity, the conventional approach of using hardware for software design is becoming outdated. This is mainly due to its lengthy production process.

Renesas is already pioneering a virtual development environment for application software. They are offering advanced debugging and evaluation tools to analyze and evaluate software performance. Renesas will provide these tools for next generation processors from 1Q 2024. This allows developers to accelerate their software development efforts even before prototypes of the next-generation devices are accessible. This enables them to bring their products to market more rapidly.

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