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Freescale Leverages Power Architecture Technology to Evolve Robotic, Kiosk and Unmanned Vehicle Capa
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Oct 08, 2007
More Design and Development stories
Freescale Semiconductor has released the MPC8610 integrated host processor - a high performance device based on Power Architecture(TM) technology. The MPC8610 helps robots see and navigate in 3D space, enables touch screen kiosks to recognize voices and facial features, and allows cockpit controls to display images with outstanding resolution.

This single, versatile device replaces up to four chips required by other solutions. The MPC8610 integrates a high-performance e600 Power Architecture core with the AltiVec(R) vector processing engine, an LCD controller and I2S/AC97 SSI controllers for audio inputs and outputs.

“This processor continues Freescale’s 15 year tradition of driving Power Architecture into new categories of embedded applications,” said Glenn Beck, industrial segment marketing manager for Freescale. “The MPC8610 demonstrates how the scalable, powerful and flexible Power Architecture platform can accelerate momentum in the growing area of robotics and unmanned vehicles.”

By integrating all core-to-peripheral connections, Freescale reduces the number of high-speed parallel buses routed on the circuit board, ultimately delivering smaller boards with fewer layers and higher processing densities. This integration provides significant power, board real estate and cost savings for applications such as kiosks, robotics, in-vehicle infotainment equipment, cockpit displays, single-board computers and multi-function printers.

According to Derek Morikawa, chief executive officer of Vision Robotics Corporation, Power Architecture(TM) technology plays a key role in his company’s products. “Vision Robotics’ robots leverage the AltiVec engine in the MPC8610 to process camera images, as well as efficiently and safely navigate in 3D space. Our customers are already piloting interesting commercial products based on previous generations of this technology.”

The device’s peripherals are derived from the field-proven PowerQUICC(R) family of embedded processors, and software application code developed for Freescale’s MPC744x and MPC864x families can be easily ported to the MPC8610 processor.

MPC8610 integrated host processor technical highlights

The MPC8610 features a high-performance, superscalar e600 core operating between 667 MHz and 1.333 GHz (up to 3000 Dhrystone MIPS). The device’s smaller 256 KB backside L2 cache with error correcting code (ECC) saves power and cost for target applications that typically do not require the full 1 MB cache available in other e600-based devices. Maximum power (preliminary) at 1066 MHz is 15 watts at a junction temperature of 105 degrees Celsius.

An LCD controller drives a display with real-time blending of up to three planes, a maximum display resolution of SXGA 1280 x 1024, and display color depth up to 24 bits per pixel (bpp). The audio interface features two synchronous serial interface (SSI) controllers for I2S or AC97 audio inputs/outputs.

Vector processing, called AltiVec technology in Freescale implementations, is a capability built into the Power instruction set architecture. By using this DSP-like technology to process images, the e600 core can run at slower speeds and achieve lower power consumption and operational costs. Freescale’s e600 cores have been used for many years in aerospace and defense applications to process images, map terrain and navigate.

AltiVec technology benchmarks have shown up to 10x performance increases for applications such as MP3/AAC audio encoding/decoding acceleration, MPEG2/4, H.264 movie encoding/decoding acceleration, 2D/3D geometry processing acceleration and filter processing acceleration for image and speech recognition.

The MPC8610 is manufactured with 90-nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology and is packaged in a 29 x 29 mm, 783-pin, 1.0 mm pitch flip-chip plastic ball grid array (FC-PBGA). For more detailed technical specifications see http://www.freescale.com/imageprocessor.

General samples and evaluation boards are available for order now. Production quantities are planned for mid-2008.

About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2006 sales of $6.4 billion (USD). http://www.freescale.com

Freescale(TM) and the Freescale logo are trademarks of Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. All other product or service names are the property of their respective owners. Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. 2007.

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