Automotive Pixel Link (APIX)
Inova Semiconductors is a fabless semiconductor company and developer of the APIX technology. APIX is a serial high speed Gigabit Multichannel link to interconnect displays, cameras and control units over one single cable.
Inova Semiconductors exhibits its latest APIX Gigabit link technology for Automotive Infotainment and Advance Drive Assistance Systems at electronica 2014
A growing number of car manufacturers are using the APIX Multi-Channel SerDes technology for High Definition (HD) video-, audio- and integrated Ethernet transmission in the car.
Munich, October 2014 – The APIX and APIX2 Gigabit link from Inova Semiconductors is an established technology in the automotive industry also licensed by the major semiconductor manufacturers Fujitsu, Toshiba, Analog Devices and Spansion.
Today about 20 million APIX nodes are in operation in cars since its introduction in 2008. APIX links are used whenever displays or cameras are to be reliably connected to ECUs (Electronic Control Unit). Typically, this is for Infotainment and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems but also – as a key differentiator of the APIX technology - incorporating Ethernet communication for the in car network.
This time the focus at “electronica” is on the APIX ecosystem – all the important infrastructure to make a technology attractive and “easy to use” for customers. A particular focus here will be on test and measurement, as well as on diagnosis: Inova will demonstrate a selection of latest products using the APIX technology “in action” at Inova’s booth in hall A6.207:
1. BMW i3 with full display instrumentation powered by APIX
This electric car is attracting highest interest and attention from around the world for its high number of innovative technologies and solutions. Amongst them, it also features a new generation of instrument cluster, where for the first time, mechanical gauges are not used anymore. A high-resolution flat panel display shows all information relevant for the driver – speed, rpm, fuel, temperature and more. Having a display instead of mechanical gauges there, now allows showing any additional content in form of graphics, pictures or even video streams, like actual warning on road conditions, obstacles and much more. It even allows a personalized look of the instrumentation layout. There is also a central information display in the car. Inova’s APIX Gigabit link technology is used in the BMW i3 to connect the respective ECU to both displays. It features robust and reliable data transmission, even in the harsh environment of an electric car with its high-current systems and all the other challenges to a reliable Gigabit data transmission in the car.
2. Stereo Camera – two video streams over one APIX link
High quality ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) require a new generation of cameras to feature a true 3D image rather than a plain 2D image of present systems. Those stereo-cameras also are used for modern fleet-management and other ever growing camera-based applications in the car. APIX here is the only link-technology able to transmit two fully independent, real-time video streams plus control data over one APIX2 link with 3 Gbps. The demonstrator is using the latest Megapixel image sensors of Inova´s strategic partner Omnivision and the Inova APIX2 products INAP375T and INAP375R.
3. AXSB Automotive-Ready Reference Board with APIX interface
The high hard- and software complexity of modern infotainment systems with ever shorter design cycles for new car models mean a major challenge to every system designer. Thus, major semiconductor manufacturer or professional design providers offer so-called reference platforms to help the system designers to ease the development and reduce time and risk. The AXSB reference board from XSe, part of Mentor Graphics and leading automotive system design house from Karlsruhe, Germany, is a fully equipped platform for an infotainment system offering a huge selection of software from the GENIVI alliance and other OS/middleware environments. The board is connected over the APIX2 link to two automotive displays with the highly integrated “Indigo” single chip display controller from Fujitsu Semiconductor, a partner of Inova who has licensed the APIX-technology for his products.
4. Alfamation APIX tester for National Instrument platform
Thorough testability of a high performance link system during the design and development at the Tier1 or later, at the assembly line of the OEM, is a major prerequisite to ensure stable and flawless operation of a system in the car. This test system from Alfamation for the National Instruments test environment - highly popular and spread throughout the automotive industry - allows building complete test suites for the APIX link using National Instruments Lab view environment.
5. Tektronix Oscilloscope with built-in APIX compliance test
The Gigabit APIX link, where RF-like technical rules apply is therefore also requiring sound impedance control and compliance to RF-like parameters to ensure a flawless and stable operation of the link. Acknowledging the growing popularity of the APIX link, the leading US manufacturer of high-performance RF test equipment, Tektronix, now is introducing a scope with an “APIX Button”. All the relevant parameters of the APIX compliance standard already are stored in the scope. This significantly eases system development and compliance testing thus helping to shorten the development time of a robust and reliable APIX-system.
6. Integrated Camera with HMI (Human Machine Interface) for Rear View
Convenient HMI (Human Machine Interfacing) becomes an ever more important aspect with the growing number of electronic applications in the car. The demonstrator shows a HMI camera system for rear view with the APIX2 link as interconnect, the latest Megapixel sensor from Aptina and the new NVP2620 chip from Korean-based semiconductor manufacturer NextChip. With built-in video processing capability, the NVP2620 chip allows the direct connection of a camera to a display without the need for extra image processing by additional microprocessor or FPGA.