The 2012 Audi new car models will be the first following National Semiconductor Corp.’s arrangement with Audi AG to provide analog integrated circuits (ICs) and subsystems for Modular Infotainment Device technology for Audi’s next-generation vehicles. National’s technology enables vivid graphics and content-protected high-definition (HD) video to be distributed throughout the vehicle, creating a movie theater-like experience for passengers.
The agreement between the two companies, signed in October 2010, supports Audi’s introduction of a series of innovative in-vehicle capabilities and benefits based on National’s technology. Building on an already successful relationship – National’s FPD-Link solution for car infotainment is already in use across the Audi vehicle lineup – the fruits of this agreement will first be seen with start of production of the 2012 Audi A3 model, expanding in subsequent years to include additional Audi vehicles and models.
Audi is world renowned for its best-in-class interior design and the most intuitive, user-friendly interfaces. Information is positioned exactly where the user expects it – at eye level – with control elements within easy reach of their intended users: the driver or the passengers. This philosophy and attention to detail extends down to the design of Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI®) infotainment and directly influences the choice of chipsets.
Working with National’s engineers, Audi selected the National FPD-Link III Ser/Des automotive infotainment chipset. It allows uncompressed HD video from the Audi MMI’s central processing unit to be distributed to the high-resolution displays spread throughout the front and rear of the vehicle. By enabling a truly protected digital signal, the content (for instance, a Blu-ray movie or three-dimensional map data) may not be hacked or infiltrated.
National’s FPD-Link III Ser/Des chipset leverages the company’s expertise in high-speed analog and mixed-signal technology, transporting HD digital video, audio, clocking and encrypted key exchange for content protection over a single twisted pair cable. National’s FPD-Link III technology is one of a selected few to be accepted by the Digital Content Protection (DCP, LLC), the licensing body for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) as an approved HDCP technology.
“Speed and integrity of electronic signals are paramount for automotive infotainment applications, and our high-performance analog innovations make us an ideal partner for Audi. We look forward to working together to apply technology and innovation to enhance its next-generation vehicles,” said Robert Hinke, Vice President and General Manager, Europe for National Semiconductor.
Dr. Peter Steiner, Head of Infotainment at Audi, added: “Through this partnership we will continue to engineer cost-optimized solutions with the goal of offering Premium HD digital video across the Audi vehicle range. National’s system integration expertise and flexibility in supporting interface solutions compatible with the industry-leading graphics processors of the Audi MMI are both invaluable in achieving this goal.”
The FPD-Link III family extends beyond Infotainment to include automotive-grade chipsets for Audi’s driver-assist video cameras. That technology improves driver safety and response time, helping drivers monitor road conditions, detect hazards and avoid collisions.