Freescale Semiconductor has
introduced the groundbreaking S32V vision microprocessor – the first automotive
vision system-on-chip (SoC) with the requisite reliability, safety and security
measures to automate and ‘co-pilot’ a self-aware car.
Leveraging a host of automotive-grade
technologies, the S32V takes the industry beyond the current,
convenience-centric “assist” paradigm and toward an era where cars can capture
data, process it and actually share control with drivers in critical
situations. This capability establishes the essential bridge from the current
“assist” era toward the fully autonomous vehicles of tomorrow.
According to a press release, part of
Freescale’s SafeAssure functional safety program, the S32V microprocessor is
structurally designed to comply with stringent ISO 26262 functional safety
standards, and engineered for automotive-grade quality metrics measured in
parts per billion. This reliability, together with the exceptional
performance/power ratios of integrated second-generation CogniVue APEX Image
Cognition Processing technology, additionally supports the fusion of vision
data captured by the S32V device with multiple other data streams, including
radar, LiDAR and ultrasonic information to enable optimal resolution and image
“The next step in the evolution of
self-driving cars will rely on automated systems that accurately process
information, make decisions and take the requisite actions,” said Luca De
Ambroggi, Principal Analyst, Automotive Semiconductors for analyst firm IHS,
adding that “This requires the highest levels of reliability, which are rarely
present in consumer-grade silicon. The essential requirement for fail-safe
reliability cannot be achieved using consumer-grade silicon without significant
costs in system power or form factor.”
The Zero-Defect Mentality
The S32V leverages Freescale’s
decades-long track record of delivering ultra-reliable processors to the
quality obsessed automotive market. The microprocessor’s unmatched safety stems
from structural, automotive-grade technologies and techniques that assure
optimal reliability. Redundant signal paths, software error checking
functionality, hardware fault detection and hard partitioning of on-chip
processing domains allow the system to safely shut down and perform a
controlled reboot without compromising braking or steering.
The S32V also features secure
boot, network-grade crypto engines, secure keys, and support for secure
hardware extension specifications published by many of the world’s top
automakers. With this unparalleled level of security, the S32V helps protect
against theft of software algorithms and other IP, while enhancing overall
vehicle safety by helping to prevent external attacks and unauthorized access
to vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Discrete encryption domains provide an
added layer of protection within the car’s network. If a hacker gains access to
one node of the car’s system, they cannot access other nodes; hence attacks are
effectively isolated and quarantined.
“Many automotive vision systems available
today are based on consumer-oriented silicon solutions originally designed to
enhance gaming graphics or run smartphone apps. But in a new era where cars
will serve as trusted co-pilots, utilizing consumer-oriented silicon is
fundamentally unwise,” said Bob Conrad, Senior Vice President and General
Manager of Automotive MCUs for Freescale. “Relying on anything less than
automotive-grade silicon to take control of a vehicle and make critical driving
decisions is simply not acceptable – not for me, not for my family and not for
my customers,” he said
Details and Ecosystem Support
The S32V vision microprocessor
integrates robust hardware including high-performance CogniVue APEX-642 core
image processing technology, as well as four ARM Cortex-A53 cores.
The S32V’s sophisticated
software platform includes Green Hills Software’s INTEGRITY – a
safety-certified, real-time operating system (RTOS) including a powerful set of
ISO 26262, ASIL-D certified development tools with highly optimized target
solutions. The platform also includes Neusoft Corporation’s advanced, real-time
object recognition algorithms to seamlessly detect partial objects, allowing
the S32V to interpret and distinguish between road hazards and pedestrian risk.
Full market availability for the S32V is expected in July 2015.
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