Title
FPGA used to improve the display for a racing car dashboard
And double the profit margin
Technologies used

    FPGA, VHDL, LCD

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    34 Parts + accessories for motor vehicles and their engines
    29 Machinery
    23 Industrial Process Control
Abstract

THARSYS has 6 employees and produces electronic equipments for Space and Automotive applications. One of their products is an electronic dashboard for racing cars. This dashboard is very accurate (50 rpm resolution) with a special design for drivers on circuits, which makes it an ideal instrument for teaching and training. The thousand rpm indication uses a 7 segment display, while the hundreds and fifties are handled as a luminous needle.

The objective of the Application Experiment (AE) was to improve the performance, add functions and flexibility to the THARSYS dashboard and reduce its cost.

The existing display part of the dashboard requires a large number of parts (140) and is costly to manufacture. It comprises 12 seven-segment-LEDs, 20 LEDs, one specially made plastic bar to hold the LEDs in place, 2 Display controller components, 29 MOS transistors, 24 operational amplifiers, and 52 resistors.

In this AE the display was replaced by one custom graphic LCD screen and the number of functions was increased by implementing microcontroller external logic in FPGA. The upgraded product becomes adaptable to a large number of vehicles. It is also improved ergonomically.

The use of an integrated solution provides advantages through cost and assembly time reduction. With the extra functionality, the manufacturing cost is reduced by 10%. The commercial margin is nearly doubled and hence the potential market is significantly larger.
The duration of the AE was 16 months as opposed to the 11 months planned and cost 107 K ECU. It cost a further 38K ECU to productionise the unit. The payback period will be around 2 years, and assuming a 4 year product life cycle the ROI will be around 200%.

During the AE, THARSYS acquired the knowledge of two technologies:

The experience in FPGA design and use of VHDL will enable the transfer of this technology to other products for car products and embedded computers.

The know how in custom LCD screen definition, integration and utilisation will be used for other display systems for cars and to other industrial fields than space computers and automotive applications.

Company

    THARSYS
    3, Rue Ariane
    31520 Ramonville saint-Agne
    FRANCE


Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

FPGA, VHDL, LCD technology provided THARSYS with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.


Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
LETI
17 Rue des Martyrs
F-38054 Grenoble Cedex 9
France