Home > Hardware, Linux, Renesas MCU > Renesas R-Car M2 Porter is a Linux Development Board for Your Car

Renesas R-Car M2 Porter is a Linux Development Board for Your Car

So far, I always assumed development boards specifically designed for automotive applications would only be available to companies in the car or truck business, but as I wrote about FOSDEM 2016 schedule yesterday, I found out that one of the talk with cover FOSS software stacks that are available for automotive, and usable on hobbyist boards such as Raspberry Pi 2 and Minnowboard Max, but also on Renesas R-Car M2 Porter board specifically designed for automotive infotainment applications.

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Click to Enlarge

Renesas Port board specifications:

  • SoC – Renesas R-Car M2 dual core ARM Cortex-A15 processor @ 1.5­GHz with PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU, Renesas 2D graphics processor, and Multimedia Engine SH­4A @ 780 MHz
  • System Memory – Dual channel 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – On-board 4 MB SPI, and 64 MB SPI, 1x SATA rev 3.1 connector, 1x SD card slot, and 1x micro SD card slot
  • Video Output / Display I/F – HDMI and LVDS + touchscreen
  • Analog Video In – ADV7180 Video Decoder with RCA jack, NTSC/PAL/SECAM autodetection
  • Audio codec – AK4643EN with 3.5mm jacks for Line In and Line Out
  • Connectivity – 100 Mbps (debug) Ethernet and Ethernet AVB (Auio Video Bridge) connector
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB port that supports host, device and OTG modes
  • Serial – CAN transceiver
  • Expansion
    • 1x PCI Express x1 slot
    • EXIO connector
    • IEBus (Inter Equipment Bus)
  • Debugging – 20-pin JTAG connector, micro USB port for debugging
  • Misc – Power LEDs for 12, 5 and 1.35V, power switch, 3 user buttons, reset button,
  • Power supply – 12V/9A
  • Dimensions – 170×125 mm

So the hardware is pretty interface with interfaces seldom found on hobbyist boards such as IEBus (automotive 2-wire protocol to connect multiple media devices), EXIO connector, and an Ethernet AVB bus. Video input would allow you to use some rear camera for example, LVDS and the touchscreen header a touchscreen display.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The board supports Linux built with the Yocto Project. No, I did not find at all that information on Renesas website, but instead on Porter board page on eLinux.org, which beside hardware information, including the hardware and setup guide, also provides a quick start guide to  run an “Hello, World!” application with a Yocto build supporting both X11 and Wayland.

All that would not be any fun is you could not purchase the board, but luckily R-Car M2 Porter board is sold on Digikey for $360.

  1. TonyT
    January 15th, 2016 at 00:50 | #1

    An alternative is the BeagleBoard X15 – the Sitara 5872 is basically a relabeled automotive SoC, with similar specs (dual A15, 2G DRAM, SATA, PCIe x1, 2 x 1G Ethernet, etc). I don’t believe the X15 has AVB or IEBus. Mouser lists availability in Feb or March IIRC, price is ~$240.

    If you want to play with AVB, another choice is the Krtcl Snickerdoodle – its add-on router baseboard has a multi-port AVB Ethernet switch.

    The next generation of AVB, now renamed to TSN (time sensitive network), should have much better real time performance than current AVB products, and hopefully wider support.

  2. Nobody of Import
    January 16th, 2016 at 05:09 | #2

    For slightly more than the $360, you can have a Jetson X1 board. Nice, but more of a, “day late, dollar short, Renesas…”

  3. Nobody of Import
    January 16th, 2016 at 05:10 | #3

    @TonyT
    Yeah, that was the other observation. The tier here is lower than this is. If you’re working with Renesas’ SoC, it’s a boon. Otherwise…nah…I’ve got comparable for less and much better for slightly more…

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