New Delhi, India, November 14, 2014: The “self-driving car” concept has captured the world’s imagination, and today’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are catalyzing this revolution. But the enormous opportunities these markets present come with significant challenges that must first be solved. Freescale Semiconductor is propelling the industry forward by addressing two critical speed bumps on the path toward autonomous driving – the lack of open standards for ADAS system development, and the common-but-empty premise that consumer focused silicon solutions are safe enough for critical autonomous automotive applications.
Freescale today announced it will soon introduce an OpenCL (Open Computing Language)-based automotive development environment engineered to open the market for car OEMs and tier-one suppliers alike to bring advanced driver assist and other ADAS technologies to a wider range of vehicles, faster. The company also called on tier-one ADAS system providers and their suppliers to renew their industry-wide commitment to automotive safety via the design and deployment of highly secure embedded semiconductors built from the ground up to meet and exceed automotive-grade quality requirements.
The Democratization of ADAS
Responding to the current lack of open standards, and to reverse the trend toward closed, proprietary ADAS systems which inhibit development and stifle design innovation, Freescale will offer an OpenCL development environment for ADAS systems targeting Freescale silicon and engineered to reduce R&D overhead – effectively democratizing the ADAS development process. OpenCL is an open, royalty-free standard for cross-platform, parallel programming. It greatly improves speed and responsiveness for a wide spectrum of applications in numerous markets. OpenCL is an open standard maintained by the non-profit technology consortium Khronos Group.
“An open standards development environment and zero-defect design methodologies will form the foundation for Freescale’s next-generation ADAS platforms,” said Bob Conrad, SVP and general manager of Automotive MCUs at Freescale. “Incorporating OpenCL to our portfolio of automotive processing solutions is expected to free our customers to focus more on ADAS innovation – and more importantly, ADAS safety.”
Automotive Grade from the Ground Up
Despite the increasing publicity surrounding them, autonomous vehicles will simply not exist on a commercial scale without safe, reliable and secure solutions. Freescale believes that the assertion that consumer-oriented silicon solutions designed to enhance gaming graphics or run smartphone apps are safe enough to ensure autonomous driving-quality and reliability in automotive applications presents significant risk to the automotive industry. Such claims are perpetuating a hype cycle that is dissociating reality from the vision of self-driving technology.
“The existential threat to the self-driving car is safety,” said Luca De Ambroggi, principal analyst for Automotive Semiconductors with IHS. “We are seeing a lot of new entrants to this market with consumer silicon which may pass some safety tests, but is not specifically designed for automotive safety from the ground up. If your graphics processor goes out, that’s one thing; but if your front end sensors, radar and brakes fail, that’s a different story.”
Freescale is a decades-long industry leader in automotive safety, delivering products broadly deployed in ADAS systems to OEMs around the world. Freescale designs products specifically for a long life of fail-safe operation in the harshest automotive environments. The company’s SafeAssure Functional Safety Program offers a broad solution set of MCUs, sensors and analog ICs, as well as support for functional safety application design that includes training, safety documentation and technical support. Freescale’s Qorivva MPC5643L was the industry’s first microcontroller to achieve a formal ISO 26262 certificate for ASIL D functional safety capability by an independent third-party accredited certification body.
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