Xilinx looks to accelerate automotive driver assistance deployment

Xilinx is looking to accelerate the automotive industry’s development and deployment of a new generation of automotive driver assistance systems (ADAS). At the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Convergence 2012 event, Xilinx unveiled its automotive ARM-processor based Zynq-7000 All Programmable system-on-a-chip (SoC) platform that can reduce the cost and the time-to-market of driver assistance solutions by using programmable system integration to lower the bill-of-materials while still meeting sophisticated technical requirements that lay behind systems requiring driver assurance-critical image-to-vision and in-vehicle networking capabilities.

Commenting Nick DiFiore, director of Xilinx’s automotive segment said “The Zynq-7000 family allows ADAS developers to implement a familiar software-based system, but with closely coupled, fully customised, hardware accelerators that deliver a level of raw image processing performance and low power consumption that is simply not achievable with traditional multi-chip approaches.”

DiFiore added that ADAS suppliers are already using Zynq-7000 devices rather than ‘pre-canned’ ASSPs to combine off-the-shelf IP from the Xilinx ecosystem along with their own proprietary IP and algorithms to differentiate themselves in the market, “all without the huge costs and time-to-market penalties that make ASIC development impractical – it’s a win/win in this hotly contested market.”

Automakers are bundling the current generation of ADAS applications – which includes blind spot detection, lane departure warning systems, automatic parking assistance, collision avoidance, pedestrian detection and driver drowsiness detection – as they seek to provide drivers with multiple safety features at lower costs. Common to both current and future ADAS applications is the use of a variety of cameras and ultrasonic sensors in combination with specialized, real-time processing systems, a prime example of the image-to-vision capabilities that Xilinx is putting particular focus on across all its markets. Currently these systems use multiple chips for the required processing, which keep BOM costs high and reduce flexibility options to scale between vehicle platforms.

The Xilinx Automotive (XA) Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoC is also suitable for ADAS applications as it is qualified to meet the stringent temperature, quality and reliability requirements for automotive applications.

“Consumer demand for driver assistance applications is strong and growing but continues to be held back due to high manufacturing and development costs. To overcome this, it is vital to ‘right size’ the underlying components through increasing integration and to create common platforms that can be customized for a variety of ADAS applications – this will lower unit costs, increase economies of scale and shorten development cycles,” said Mark Fitzgerald, associate director global automotive practice, Strategy Analytics. “By integrating more and more into fewer and fewer chips, customizable solutions hold the promise of addressing these requirements of automotive manufacturers to develop a new generation of ADAS applications available across more of their cars.”

Current ADAS solutions typically employ multiple chips, but by using the Zynq-7000 family, the industry’s first SoC family to incorporate an ARM dual-core Cortex-A9 MPCore processing system with tightly coupled programmable logic on a single die, this can be avoided. This combination increases the performance for processing-intensive real-time ADAS, and enables greater system integration for bundling multiple applications while reducing BOM.

Availability of the fully qualified XA Zynq-7000 devices is scheduled for the second quarter of 2013.



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