Minimize the cost and optimize the safety of the vehicle

People say you can’t put a price on safety, but when we look at the wide range of prices across the auto industry, from low to high, and the levels of safety at different price points, that’s not necessarily true.

That’s not to say any automaker is making unsafe cars to sell to the public, but that there is a corresponding cost to getting the best, most comprehensive modern safety features. However, the cost/benefit analysis of car design and production is constantly being optimized, so how can we leverage the technology already in the car to dramatically improve safety without drastically raising the price?

Security concerns lie ahead

When we think about car safety, most people immediately think of hardware devices: airbags, anti-lock brakes, and crash buffers are all used in an accident to keep occupants safe. But safety isn’t just about surviving a crash, it’s about putting systems in place to avoid crashes and failures.

The European New Car Safety Assessment Association (Euro NCAP) defines the highest five-star safety rating as: “The overall performance of the collision protection is excellent, and it is equipped with comprehensive and powerful anti-collision technology”. When it comes to collision avoidance, not only can we take advantage of the latest advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) capabilities to automatically brake and guide the vehicle in its lane, but we can also seek a simpler solution – avoiding hardware failures.

Mechanical failures in cars are a major cause of accidents, so a simple solution is to remove mechanical parts as completely as possible where possible. Whenever you drive, the area in front of you (the instrument panel) happens to be the typical situation involved in this scenario.

The instrument panel is a vital part of a safe driving experience, indicating speed, gear and displaying all vehicle warning lights, and failure here could have catastrophic consequences. This means that traditional mechanical instrument panels must be designed to tight tolerances and carefully assembled, resulting in high costs for such a seemingly small vehicle component. The solution for vehicles of all price points is to replace the mechanical instrument cluster with a digital Display, but this may also raise other related issues.

Modern in-vehicle displays are required to meet ISO 26262’s ASIL-B rating. This means that various appropriate measures need to be taken to support the calculation of the system checking itself, thereby increasing the mean time between failures considerably. This double check creates a huge computational burden, meaning everything needs to be done twice in an instant. This also raises the question of cost and benefit.

For security purposes, the central processing unit (CPU) is a great way to do fast, repetitive calculations, but you can’t render rich displays using only the CPU. This results in a monotonous and uninteractive display, while also being mounted in a fixed location, which, while affordable, does not provide the best content for the driver in front of him and in the center of the vehicle. Traditionally, the other option is to use a graphics processing unit (GPU), but this requires two rendering passes per frame, which means that while the rich three-dimensional (3D) rendering will wow the driver, But behind it requires a lot of chip area and cost to facilitate its realization.

All we need, then, is the amazing user experience that traditional GPUs bring, and the fast computing power and low cost that CPUs bring.

Scalability in both performance and cost

If no new hybrid computing solution emerges that can do everything well, all that can be done is to optimize existing solutions and custom-design them to suit the needs of the car, especially considering the deployment of high-end safety features to Among the lowest-value models from the automaker. With this in mind, a successful automotive GPU for rendering displays needs to be scalable while being efficient and functionally safe.

When discussing scalability, people almost always want to have no limit and access to unlimited computing potential. For certain situations, such as data centers and home computing, this can be great. However, few people will talk about the architecture can also shrink, in fact, in this case, can provide the same high level of computing power and functionality, but the cost and chip area is only a fraction of the original.

GPUs for multiple 4K displays in modern luxury cars are architecturally identical to GPUs for simple high-definition displays in small city cars, which reduces not only the cost of the chip, but also the cost of its software and design engineering time. Reduced because the underlying structure and principles remain the same.

Open access to tools and rapid prototyping

With general-purpose GPU solutions reaching the entire automaker community, developing software and systems that run efficiently is the next area where we want to cut costs without compromising quality. Achieving this goal requires tools that are easy to obtain and use to optimize the development experience and to prototype functions and systems as quickly as possible. Imagination’s recently released workgroup-protected OpenCL extension suite is one such system that enables automakers to build working models in a closed environment and iterate rapidly before large-scale deployment.

GPUs aren’t the end of the road, but they’re a great start

Going digital can save costs without compromising the all-important NCAP ratings, and even more with the right GPU. In addition to using GPUs as the preferred method for digital safety in cars, modern ADAS and autonomous driving systems require specific neural network accelerators (NNAs) to perform their calculations.

By taking a holistic approach to its entire value chain while finding a solution that spans from the smallest single core all the way up to multi-core solutions for fully autonomous vehicles (such as Imagination’s BXS which supports both single-core and multi-core form factors) GPU and Series4 NNA), automakers can save time and money, and win customers with a premium experience on any price point model.

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