With the rapid deployment of liquid crystal display (LCD) screens in automobiles, car makers are challenged to control costs while providing a useful and stimulating visual experience for drivers and passengers.Not since the introduction of the car radio has a technology offered so much buyer appeal, but these graphics-based systems come at a high cost both in terms of bill of materials (BOM) and developmental expenditures. Re-use of hardware and software is critical to control costs. But with multiple platforms offering different levels of user experience, automakers face the challenge of cost-effectively leveraging a limited number of designs over multiple models. One solution is to deploy smarter architectures that decouple key pieces of the system, so that some components can be used in multiple instances, while others are unique to one or two platforms.Fujitsu Semiconductor worked with BMW and Inova Semiconductors to integrate the Automotive Pixel Link (APIX®), a bi-directional serial link, with the Fujitsu graphics display controllers (GDCs). This collaboration has enabled BMW to reduce behind-the-dash space requirements, develop more modular architectures, and save money.BMW was involved from the outset to ensure stability in the development process and to make sure that the company's concerns were addressed. Those concerns included the weight associated with the wiring, and interoperability with other bus standards.APIX features a primary channel speed of 1 Gbit/s, which will scale to 3 Gb/s soon. APIX is differentiated from other high-speed serial links, such as LVDS, in that it provides a full-duplex, bi-directional back channel to support command and control. This is a critical feature in the deployment of smart display systems.Graphics display controllers are the core drivers of display systems, and the Fujitsu graphics controllers offer many features including video input, 2D and 3D rendering functions, a flexible layer capability, support for screen resolutions up to XGA (1024x768), and other features in the area of navigation, such as alpha blending and anti-aliasing.