Bringing High-Quality UIs to Low-Cost HMI Platforms

Low-cost HMI platforms with Kanzi
Embedded World has become a significant annual exhibition for the automotive industry. Taking place early in the year and falling hard on the heels of CES, the event always offers us a great opportunity to bring our newest flagship demonstrations from Las Vegas for their first public display in Europe. This year we decided to use the event to introduce a range of Kanzi HMI applications on low-cost platforms, given the event’s traditional focus on embedded systems. The lineup consisted of several applications of Kanzi and Kanzi Lite in various configurations on a range of platforms. 

Kanzi Lite is our core technology bringing the benefits of Kanzi to cost-optimized target hardware, i.e. MCU-based platforms lacking OpenGL ES. Kanzi Lite enables the use of a single tool, Kanzi Studio, for development of HMIs across segments and price points. By eliminating proprietary graphics coding traditionally required on MCU-based platforms, reliability is increased while development cost is reduced. UI components can be shared and re-used across variants and segments for a consistent brand identity. At Embedded World, we showed our original Kanzi Lite demonstration, which runs on a Cypress Traveo MCU.

Next, we showed Kanzi Lite, a turnkey solution for a modern digital/analog cluster running on the Renesas RH850 DX1 microcontroller, powered by Kanzi Lite. Announced and previously only seen at CES, this integrated software platform from our parent company, ThunderSoft, enables efficient development of high-quality instrument clusters, accelerating time-to-market and reducing cost. Kanzi Hybrid brings the powerful UI framework and workflow benefits of Kanzi UI to the entry-level cluster segment.

Seen for the first time at Embedded World, our Kanzi dual rendering demonstration shows the benefits of a fully integrated, unified toolchain. This instrument cluster, running on a Renesas R-Car D3 platform, was created in a single Kanzi Studio project. The static and dynamic 2D elements are rendered on the board’s 2D accelerator with the Kanzi Lite runtime engine, and the 3D objects are rendered with Kanzi Runtime on the OpenGL ES-based GPU. Both runtimes offer high performance; combined, the refresh rate of the entire UI is 60 frames per second.

Finally, also on display for the first time at Embedded World was a cost-effective HMI demonstration on STMicroelectronics Accordo 5, including real-time 3D rendering, advanced effects, and smooth performance. The power of Kanzi Runtime enables compelling user interfaces on GPU-based platforms at all price points.

Kanzi is well known for powering the user interfaces of high-end performance and luxury vehicles. In fact, about 45 OEM brands use the software in production programs ranging from low-cost to high-performance HMIs. Embedded World allowed us to show a range of applications at the lower end of the cost spectrum.

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