The automotive industry is experiencing an unparalleled transformation as it adapts to increasing user expectations and the software defined vehicles of now and the future. This transformation has led to an escalation in the sophistication and complexity of both hardware and software in modern vehicles, with functional safety one of the key considerations to reduce the gap between these technology advancements and automotive grade reliability and safety. Now, Arm Mali-G78AE GPU has become the first modern, high performance, automotive focused GPU to achieve full TUV certification, easing the path to realize the most modern UIs in vehicles.
This is significant for two key reasons. Firstly, TUV is a global leader in testing, inspection and certification services, with its certifications carrying significant weight and credibility across a number of sectors - TUV’s safety standards are officially recognized by the automotive industry. Secondly, the TUV certification is another important milestone in Arm’s ongoing commitment to bring the most modern compute technology into vehicles, including the most demanding and safety focused applications.
Following the world-leading TUV certification, Mali-G78AE can now provide extended capabilities and assurances for key safety-related use cases across the following applications:
At Arm, we see Mali-G78AE as the first step towards a full functional safety GPU stack.
The TUV certification builds upon Mali-G78AE’s established commitment to functional safety, with the GPU developed according to Arm’s rigorous functional safety flows and processes. At launch, Mali-G78AE supported automotive and industrial standards, such as ASIL B/SIL 2 for diagnostic requirements and ASIL D/SIL 3 to avoid systematic failures. The official TUV safety certification of these designs and features provides an industry-wide, recognised safety guarantee and yet more reassurance to our partners who are already adopting Mali-G78AE across their solutions for autonomous vehicles.
Partners that are some of the first to use the newly certified Mali-G78AE include:
Focusing on the product itself, Mali-G78AE is based on the state-of-the-art Arm Mali Valhall architecture. It is scalable from 1 to 24 shader cores, providing the high-performance graphics and computing capabilities that are needed in advanced automotive systems. This is alongside power and area efficiency features.
One hugely innovative feature in Mali-G78AE is ‘flexible partitioning’. This allows the GPU to be configured by software into multiple independent GPU partitions, so they essentially act like multiple GPUs within the system, configurable by software, and even modifiable at runtime. This helps to solve safety and security challenges when running multiple applications of mixed criticality on the same hardware, as it can assign dedicated independent GPU hardware to applications.
The ‘flexible partitioning’ feature also gives automotive system architects the freedom to architect active fail-over scenarios. An example of this could be a system that is architected to disable an ASIL QM (center stack or IVI) partition at runtime to repurpose as an ASIL-B partition (e.g, instrument cluster), so the operator can safely drive a vehicle home in the unfortunate event of an unrecoverable error with an instrument cluster.
On top of flexible partitioning, Mali-G78AE includes several hardware safety mechanisms in the design. These include lockstep, Built-in Self-Test (BIST) execution, interface parity, isolation checks and read-only memory protection.
Having established strong safety foundations with the newly certified GPU, Arm is ensuring a total solution for the automotive ecosystem by partnering with CoreAVI to provide core enabling drivers and software for Mali-G78AE. CoreAVI is a key automotive partner that delivers a comprehensive software suite to enable the development and deployment of complete safety critical solutions for automotive, industrial, and aerospace applications. This software suite includes certification to the highest integrity levels coupled with full lifecycle support.
Combining a Mali-G78AE GPU with libraries and drivers from CoreAVI means Arm is meeting both performance and safety certification requirements across multiple markets and application areas. For example, in the CoreAVI driver, we have a functionally safe driver stack, which is developed to ASIL D and supports safety critical APIs (such as OpenGL SC 1.0 and 2.0 and Vulkan SC) and runtime tests for greater confidence and higher performance. This also provides support for the flexible partitioning and BIST execution safety features.
Safety is fundamental to the automotive and industrial markets. We are seeing great momentum through partner adoption of the Mali-G78AE that is designed for high performance, low power, and a wide range of safety features. However, achieving formal, industry recognised certification via TUV gives our partners and the industry the additional assurance to move forward confidently with their designs and products on Arm. This is an important milestone in the journey towards the automotive sector being built safely on Arm.
Learn more about Mali-G78AE