Companies develop a reference design using PMICs and SerDes ICs for SoC

31-05-2024 | ROHM Semiconductor | Test & Measurement

ROHM and Nanjing SemiDrive Technology Ltd have jointly developed a smart cockpit reference design. The design is mainly based on SemiDrive's X9M and X9E automotive SoCs and includes PMICs, SerDes ICs, LED driver ICs, and other ROHM components. A reference board based on this design is also offered, comprising the CoreBoard, the SerDes Board, and the Display Board.

In recent years, the proliferation of smart cockpits and ADAS in vehicles has increased the demand for automotive electronics and components. The performance of PMICs and SerDes ICs, which are at the heart of electronic systems in vehicles, directly impacts the stability and efficiency of the entire system. In this context, ROHM PMICs and SerDes ICs attain a high level of integration in power supply blocks while supporting increased stability during high-speed data transmission.

The two companies entered into a strategic partnership to develop advanced technologies in the automotive sector. This resulted in ROHM components such as PMICs and SerDes ICs being integrated into the reference board for SemiDrive's X9H In-Vehicle SoC. A number of automakers have since adopted the reference board to supply advanced functionality for cockpits and other vehicle applications.

The companies have now collaborated on developing the REF66004 reference design featuring the vehicle-mounted SoCs X9M and X9E. As such, the reference design is expected to further expand application line-up, including in popular mass-market models. As well as the SerDes IC used in the X9H reference board, ROHM also supplies the BD96801Q12-C SoC PMIC and BD9SA01F80-C buck converter IC for driving the SoC, as well as the BD39031MUF-C general-purpose PMIC for ADAS that supplies power to the SerDes IC. This solution supports the operation of up to three display projections and four ADAS cameras (Surround-view camera).

Zhang Qiang, chairman, Nanjing SemiDrive Technology Ltd.:

"As vehicles become increasingly smart, so too does the demand for car electronics and components. SemiDrive is focused on providing core components such as automotive SoCs and controllers for next-generation automotive E/E (Electrical/Electronic) architectures. Partnering with ROHM, which offers a rich portfolio of semiconductors for ADAS and cockpits, will greatly contribute to achieving next-generation cockpit solutions. In particular, ROHM SerDes ICs and PMICs, which leverage original analog technology, are key components in our reference design. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with ROHM to provide innovative solutions in a wide range of automotive fields."

Tetsuo Tateishi, member of the board, senior corporate officer, in charge of Research and Development, IT, Legal and Intellectual Property and LSI Business, ROHM Co., Ltd., "We are pleased to have developed this reference design in collaboration with SemiDrive, a company with extensive experience in automotive SoCs. As ADAS evolves and cockpits become more multifunctional, the role of automotive analog semiconductors such as SerDes ICs and PMICs is becoming increasingly important. At the same time, the new PMIC provided by ROHM for SoCs represents a novel concept in power ICs that can flexibly adapt to next-generation automotive power system configurations. Going forward, we will continue to deepen our partnership with SemiDrive to increase our understanding of next-generation cockpits and accelerate the development of a wide range of products, contributing to further evolution in the automotive sector."

This reference design combines SemiDrive's X9M and X9E SoCs for smart cockpits with ROHM PMICs for SoCs and ADAS, SerDes ICs (for display/camera), LVDS splitter IC, and LED driver IC for vehicle displays. It is available on ROHM's website. The design provides a cockpit solution to drive up to three screen projections and four cameras. Also, its new PMICs for SoC enable arbitrary output voltage setting and sequence control via internal memory (One Time Programmable Memory), allowing flexible, high-efficiency power supplies tailored to circuit requirements to be achieved.

A reference board based on this design is also available individually on request. It can run multiple OS on a single SoC, using SemiDrive's unique hardware virtualisation capabilities. At the same time, a hardware security management module enables the transmission of commands from the operating system to the SoC and GPU. Swapping different SemiDrive SoCs with compatible pinouts allows application specifications to be changed quickly and without circuit changes.

Ranging from entry-level to flagship models, the X9 series of in-vehicle SoCs, which supports various applications, including instrument clusters, car infotainment, cockpit domain control, and intelligent monitoring systems, has already completed shipments exceeding one million units. In addition, a sufficient production system has been established through extensive mass production experience.


By Seb Springall

Seb Springall is a seasoned editor at Electropages, specialising in the product news sections. With a keen eye for the latest advancements in the tech industry, Seb curates and oversees content that highlights cutting-edge technologies and market trends.