Car radio platform reduces hardware to a minimum

February 12, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
This is not your daddy’s car radio anymore: Today’s automotive infotainment systems have to be real all-rounders. They contain AM, FM, digital radio receivers, handle mobile telephony, touch screens, soft and hard keys as well as voice-operated control and smartphone apps. To cope with these challenges, automotive supplier Continental has developed a vehicle radio platform that allows control of multiple functions on one processor, reducing hardware to a minimum.

In order to replace cost intensive hardware with software, wherever possible, the new radio platform is built on a highly optimized system on chip (SoC) with a multi core processor at the heart of the platform handling human machine interface (HMI), connectivity and audio post-processing related functions, as well as an integrated vehicle controller and a digital signal processor (DSP) that is enabling the core radio technology of the new platform – the Software Defined Radio (SDR).

The SDR integrates analog and digital radio standards such as AM/FM, DAB/DAB+/ DMB, DRM and HD radio worldwide on a single hardware. New standards can be enabled by software update as they become available in different regions, for example Chinese Digital Radio (CDR) in China.

Anticipating that today’s audio sources typically are from broadcast, as well as from digital devices connected via Bluetooth or USB / iPod connection, the platform does not include a CD player. The reduction of hardware components allows for creating a 40mm deep flat panel design head unit, supporting capacitive touch screen, HD resolution and class D amplifiers. For vehicle manufacturers, this flat panel approach allows for great freedom when it comes to interior design.

Drivers can enjoy a variety of functions and connected services in a safe way, since the platform is capable to mirror applications and content from smartphones via different standards such as MirrorLink, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay or Baidu Carlife.

More information: http://continental-software-defined-radio.com