Junko Yoshida wrote a great article in EE Times titled, "Driverless Car on Same Road as 3D TV?", about the technology gold rush that is automotive electronics. She was prescient about the limitations of current technology and business models, and cast a questioning eye on what is really required to create autonomous vehicles.
In the article she profiled the work of an autonomous vehicle software start-up, Hungary-based AdasWorks, as well as a very established semiconductor company at the heart of many of today's driverless cars, Nvidia. She also spoke with industry experts who are working in the automotive trenches to make autonomous driving a reality, including:
- Luca De Ambroggi, principal analyst, automotive semiconductors at IHS
- Kurt Shuler, vice president of marketing at Arteris (me)
- Robert Hollingsworth, a former semiconductor company executive who is now an angel investor living in Austin, Texas
I'm quoted in the piece describing the challenges the semiconductor industry faces in making more complex SoCs, including heterogeneous multicore cache coherent systems, and achieving the proper diagnostic coverage for functional safety and ISO 26262 compliance:
2. How do we implement autonomous car SoCs, and how do we know the implementation is correct and safe?
Kurt Shuler, vice president of marketing at Arteris, observed, “Design teams today are combining industry-standard CPU clusters (like ARMs) with their own custom hardware accelerators into the SoCs that are the brains of these embedded devices.” He pointed out: “The first challenge for design teams is how best to implement their algorithms and ‘partition’ their implementation in hardware or software.”
Equally challenging in Shuler’s mind is how to qualify these devices for automotive use and adherence to the ISO 26262. Remember, design teams are in essence developing “super computer SoCs with highly specialized IP accelerators,” he noted. He believes some adaptation of ISO 26262 will be needed “to determine diagnostic coverage methods and goals for multicore devices, including those that use cache coherency.”
This is a great article describing some of the technical and social issues that the development and use of autonomous vehicles pose. I hope you get as much out of it as I have!