One of the major technology segments on everyone’s radar this year is automotive. Huge advances are taking place in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to improve road safety by assessing hazards the driver may not be aware of, but there is still a lot to do before we see fully autonomous vehicles on our roads as standard. ARM’s Richard York explained how we’re taking steps towards automated driving in an interview with Automotive Engineering earlier this year.
Some major developments that are happening right now are inside of the cockpit designed to enhance the driver’s experience, namely In Vehicle Infotainment (IVI). IVI can be simply compared to the car’s centre console that historically controlled radio, A/C, audio playback etc. There are two overarching trends that are pushing more technology into this space. One is simply that they can do it, and features such as GPS, navigation, location services (i.e. where is the nearest petrol station), in-car diagnostics, Bluetooth, satellite radio and more, are now all being placed into this space to give extra functionality to modern vehicles.
The other, more important trend is that there is a concerted push toward stopping people from using their phones while driving. According to a 2015 survey conducted by AT&T with a sample of over 2,000 US respondents, ‘7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving,’ including social media (40%), web browsing (30%) and even video chatting (10%). As you can imagine, this dramatically increases the chances of being involved in an accident. Therefore, there’s a requirement to use the centre console to mirror the content on your phone and interact with it through voice control. This, while still in its growth stage, is already a huge improvement on the current situation and further advances of the sort we’re seeing with Bixby, OK Google and Amazon Alexa will improve it further. You can learn more about how voice recognition will evolve within the cockpit in the whitepaper Reimagining voice in the driving seat. The growth of machine learning allows incremental improvements in the fluidity of these voice controls to provide a more intuitive user experience and simplify the commands needed to interact with your device while driving.
With demand for these technologies increasing all the time, forward-thinking companies know that the future of automotive means big leaps in embedded technology and are getting ahead of the game. ARM® partner Samsung have recently announced they are targeting the IVI segment with their ARM-based Exynos SoCs.
The latest release was the Samsung Exynos 8890, featuring a mix of Samsung’s Exynos custom CPUs for high performance and ARM’s Cortex®-A53 CPUs for high efficiency, as well as an ARM Mali™-T880 high performance GPU in an MP12 configuration. This CPU combination uses ARM big.LITTLE™ technology to optimise workloads based on the requirements of the task, ensuring maximum efficiency at no compromise to performance. In an automotive context, the increase in thermal efficiency provided by big.LITTLE means that these systems are able to operate at higher levels of sustained performance for longer.
Mali-T880 was the predecessor to last year’s Mali-G71 high performance GPU and is based on ARM’s Midgard graphics architecture. With enhanced bandwidth saving technologies such as ARM Frame Buffer Compression and Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression, Mali-T880 packs a serious visual punch, providing the very best visuals from user interface to AAA gaming with maximum energy efficiency. Powering Samsung’s Galaxy S7 superphone, the Exynos 8890 provides not only a fantastic smartphone experience but also the superior performance and energy efficiency required for mobile VR applications. As the IVI system becomes the link between the driver and the outside world for use cases such as navigation, video content, payment and even over the air updates, layers of security and encryption are essential to avoid hackers gaining access. The Exynos 8890 incorporates ARM’s TrustZone® technology, trusted in more than a billion mobile devices, providing hardware-enforced isolation for robust, system-wide security.
The increased use of technology in IVI systems is seamlessly delivering an enriched cockpit experience for the driver that will result in journeys that are more comfortable and safe. The ARM ecosystem is at the forefront of this innovation wave, with 90% of current IVI systems based on the ARM architecture.
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