Nissan has adopted Renesas’ R-Car automotive SOC (system-on-chip) and RH850 automotive microcontroller unit (MCU) as key components for its ProPILOT 2.0 driver assistance system. ProPILOT will now be a featured component of Nissan’s Skyline vehicles.
Designed for highway travel, ProPILOT 2.0 works with the vehicle’s navigation system and aids in driving the car on the route chosen. Significantly, as long as the vehicle stays in a single lane, the system will allow for hands-off driving.
Image from Renesas
The R-Car SOC provides the computing power to process large volumes of information from vehicle sensors in real-time, and can serve as the lynchpin for driving safety support systems. The device is applicable for tasks requiring complex processing, including driver status recognition, obstacle detection, and the prediction and avoidance of road hazards.
The R-Car SoC is tasked with building comprehensive maps of the vehicle’s surroundings. It does so by interrogating the vehicle’s camera and radar systems to gain a comprehensive insight of the speed, bearings and location of other vehicles, and any relevant information about nearby objects. This information is combined with information from the navigation system’s map data to safely and effectively pilot the vehicle.
The RH850 MCU receives the resulting data and sends control commands to the electronic units that control vehicular subsystems such as the steering wheel, accelerator, and braking. Combining the R-Car SoC’s high-performance processing with the RH850’s real-time responsiveness and excellent reliability enables judgment and control operations to take place sequentially and accurately.
The RH850 Platform. Image (modified) from Renesas
What Is an ECU?
ECUs (Electronic Control Units), are the aforementioned electronic systems that directly control automotive subsystems such as braking, the powertrain, or the suspension. ProPILOT 2.0 affects its control of the vehicle by controlling and coordinating the operation of each of these electronic subsystems.
A Commitment to Driver Assistance Technology
The movement to driver assistance technology is now a driving force in the automotive industry. The deployment of ProPILOT 2.0 represents Nissan’s commitment to embrace this central new paradigm.
“Realizing ProPILOT 2.0 on the Skyline required the technological innovation of achieving performance that can handle real-time processing of several times more sensor data than ever before while maintaining reliability,” said Takashi Yoshizawa, Nissan's VP and Alliance Global Director of EE and Systems Engineering.
Around the Automotive Industry
The truly self-driving car is still a dream. The day when you can have eight beers and simply say “home, Jeeves” to your car with no worry of a DWI is still even further off than the replacement of steel by graphene.
However, advanced driver assistance is a technology that is very much in the here and now. It would be easier to name those vehicle manufacturers that aren’t working on the technology than listing those who are.
Smartcar technology flies under many banners aside from Nissan’s driver assistance system. These include adaptive cruise control and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS.) However, these names are largely marketing affectations, as the basic pathways are quite similar. The rapid adaptation of 5G technology, with its promise of negligible latency, will serve as a powerful boost to this already unstoppable tidal wave.