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High-end telematics processor gains Linux support

Oct 16, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

Wind River has partnered with Freescale on a hardware/software Linux development kit for Freescale's top-end telematics processor. The kit includes Freescale's hardware reference platform for its MPC5121e, a 32-bit PowerPC-based SoC (system-on-chip) with integral graphics and audio cores, plus Wind… River's embedded Linux distribution and toolsuite.

Additionally, Freescale and Wind River have “merged their ecosystems for Linux OS support” around the MPC5121e processor, Wind River says. Linux support for Freescale telematics processors has long been offered by Freescale's in-house tools division, formerly Metrowerks.

The MPC5121e primarily targets “next-generation” telematics systems, such as in-car infotainment, driver assist devices, and digital displays for intelligent dashboards. Other applications for the SoC are expected to include vision processing systems, digital media servers, digital televisions, non-automotive transportation systems, health-care equipment, and industrial automation and control systems, according to the company.

MPC5121e function block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

The MPC5121e is based on a PowerPC e300 core clockable up to 400MHz. The SoC integrates an XGA (1024 x 768) LCD controller, along with a PowerVR MBX Lite 2D/3D graphics core from Imagination Technologies. It also integrates a separate “AXE” (audio acceleration engine) core, described as a “fully programmable, 200 MHz 32-bit RISC core for real-time acceleration tasks, such as audio.” I/O includes USB, CAN, Ethernet, and SDIO.

Wind River describes its “commercial-grade” Linux distribution for the MPC5121e as a “high-performance, highly connected” OS suitable for automotive applications, industrial equipment, and consumer electronics. The product is said to be backed up by the company's “Automotive Services Practice,” staffed by personnel with “significant automotive device expertise,” the company said.

Wind River has previously supported the MPC5121e part with its Platform for Automotive Devices (PAD), currently available only with the proprietary VxWorks RTOS (real-time OS). Despite not yet shipping a Linux version of PAD, Wind River has long championed the use of Linux in vehicles, and the company was recently chosen to supply the Linux OS and tools for the ambitious U.S. government-funded Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium (VII-C). The VII-C aims to reduce driving mortality rates by developing technology capable of preventing cars from running red lights, and from leaving the road due to driver inattention, the two top causes of traffic deaths.

Freescale launched the MPC5121e in May. The part was endorsed early on by top telematics RTOS vendors Green Hills and QNX. QNX, incidentally, recently freed Neutrino sourcecode — evidence of growing desire for sourcecode among embedded developers.

Mike McCourt, GM of microcontrollers at Freescale, stated, “Embedded developers are looking to industry leaders like Wind River and Freescale for tightly coupled Linux OS solutions. We've responded [with] expanded Linux OS support for the MPC5121e processor.”


The companies did not disclose availability or pricing for the combined kit.

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