Melexis has introduced MLX81116, a multichannel RGB-LED driver. The MLX81116 supports the MeLiBu™ high speed communication IP to enable intelligent animated automotive lighting concepts. The technology is already being leveraged by leading global manufacturers to enhance the safety features of their latest models.

An increasing number of car manufacturers are looking to introduce animated lighting into the cabin, as a way of conveying important driver-assistance prompts and vehicle-status information. Current design thinking envisions using an RGB-LED lightbar to communicate to the driver, through color coding, color changing, and blinking sequences. Key engineering challenges include maintaining consistent color across all the LEDs in the lightbar, and ensuring they all change together, at the same time. The MLX81116 addresses this through its unique high-speed communication interface IP, MeLiBu™. The MeLiBu™ controls all individual LEDs separately in the lightbar to produce the lighting effects commanded by the vehicle. The intelligent RGB-LED controller also provides real-time compensation of any LED color drift caused by environmental changes.

The MeLiBu™ communication interface leverages the proven CAN-FD physical layer, which ensures robustness, reliability and high speed (up to 2 Mbit); features that are key requirements for today’s car manufacturers. Support for dedicated optical parameters allows color-mixing accuracy with a delta UV of 1% to ensure no distinguishable differences between individual LEDs in the lightbar. In addition, intelligent high resolution for temperature-related color drift helps maintain a consistent and non-distracting user experience under all operating conditions.

The MLX81116 driver IC has an extremely wide dimming range that allows optimal brightness adjustment for daytime and night driving. Meeting automotive ISO 26262 functional safety requirements up to safety integrity level B (ASIL B), the MLX81116 also features low EMI emission and high immunity, thanks to the use of the CAN-FD physical layer, which eases compliance with applicable EMC regulations.

“Car makers need a robust solution capable of supporting advanced light functionalities,” said Michael Bender, Product Line Manager Embedded Lighting at Melexis. “MLX81116, the first in our product family to leverage MeLiBu™, is a reliable and cost-effective way to address this. We are excited to see leading manufacturers already include it in their new models to deliver a safer driving experience.”

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