Texas Instruments’ chips are powering tomorrow’s smart cars…today


In the past, consumers prioritized features like fuel economy, towing capacity, and reliability when purchasing a vehicle. While buyers still factor these qualities into their purchases, they now look for maximum convenience and comfort in their transports. Accordingly, auto manufacturers have addressed such desires with new attributes like online-enabled telemetrics, onboard infotainment, and semi-autonomous operation.

Original design manufacturers (ODMs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are now looking to the semiconductor industry to provide components that transform today’s analog automotive cabins into tomorrow’s unified digital cockpits (and yes, that’s a totally cool name).

Features of a Unified Digital Cockpit

Earlier this year, Texas Instruments put out a video outlining some of the features that will define unified digital cockpits. In it, the organization’s engineers explain how automakers are redesigning vehicles to be more convenient to use and more comfortable to ride in.

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The corporation notes the defining feature of tomorrow’s consumer automobiles is a heads up display (HUD … and yes, gamers rejoice around the world!). Traditionally, drivers could monitor their vehicle’s performance via behind the wheel dashboard instrument clusters. However, in recent years, automakers have replaced those readouts with large online-enabled console screens that provide a greater range of information.

For instance, a modern vehicle’s central display can provide drivers with navigational data, road condition warnings, and music player information. But one problem with these monitors is that they require drivers to take their eyes off the road.

Texas Instruments states that next-generation integrated cockpits will feature a windshield heads up displays. With them, drivers can review vehicle data in their direct line of sight.

The chipmaker’s engineers also said unified digital cockpits would offer consumers a high degree of personalization. Automakers are working on giving drivers the ability to preset their seat position and optimum cabin humidity and temperature. Besides, consumers will soon be able to communicate their preferred settings to rental cars and rideshare vehicles.

Furthermore, advanced unified digital cockpits will not rely upon traditional automobile mirrors. Vehicle manufacturers are using external cameras and sensors to replace rearview and side mirrors. By doing so, they provide drivers with a broad backward-facing field of vision that isn’t obstructed by passengers.

Notably, electric carmaker Tesla has implemented that integrated cabin update with its newly unveiled Cybertruck. The light pickup features no side or rearview mirrors, but it does feature a display that presents the same visual information.

Unified Digital Cockpit Processors

To facilitate the transition from traditional automotive cabins to unified digital cockpits, automakers need innovative high-performance vehicle processors. Accordingly, Texas Instruments has developed a series of chipsets capable of managing advanced infotainment and automotive data throughputs of integrated automobiles.

As an example, the firm’s Jacinto Eco 6 Infotainment processor (DRA72x) has been explicitly designed to handle the intense demands of contemporary onboard entertainment and information systems. Using the chipset, OEMs, and ODMs can integrate speech recognition, audio streaming, and full HD video functionality into the cockpit.

Furthermore, Jacinto Eco 6 has an Arm Cortex A-15 RISC CPU with a floating-point digital signal processor (DSP) core. As such, developers can separate the infotainment system’s functions from other DSP algorithms. That way, firms can build next-generation automobile software that isn’t unnecessarily complex.

Click here to learn more about Texas Instrument’s groundbreaking Jacinto Infotainment and Automotive chipsets.