Arm’s guiding principle for designing autonomous-class processors: Safety first

About two years ago I moved into a new role at Arm, running Arm’s core IP business, also known as our Intellectual Property Group (IPG). This coincided with the purchase of Arm by SoftBank which gave us the unique opportunity to accelerate our investments in developing IP for new growth markets. A bit of a personal perfect storm!

A look back at 2018 so far

This was not only a great opportunity for Arm but also our entire ecosystem. However, one challenge we had at Arm was that we were more product focused vs customer/market focused and were not best suited to address the opportunity in front of us. We needed to shift directions and begin designing IP specifically markets such as servers, networking and automotive. Several months later we addressed this challenge by completing a major structural change and merged several IP product groups into new lines of business; infrastructure, IoT devices, client, machine learning and automotive/embedded computing. This now allows us to develop IP products uniquely designed based on market requirements, ensuring that we meet customers product and schedule requirements.

The new businesses combined with SoftBank empowering us to accelerate our investments in them has made for an already busy 2018. Earlier this year, we announced our first ML platform, Project Trillium, followed by Cortex-A76, specifically designed to address the performance requirements of laptops and performance-efficiency demands of next-generation smartphones. And a few months later we shared our first client roadmap with products expected to deliver annual gains of 15-20 percent IPC performance.

Announcing the Cortex-A76AE

And today, our automotive line of business announced the world’s first autonomous-class processor with integrated functional safety, the Cortex-A76AE (AE stands for Automotive Enhanced.) Additionally, we shared our first roadmap of Automotive Enhanced IP highlighting our guiding design principle for automotive – safety first.  

Arm automotive enhanced roadmap

Cortex-A76AE and our future AE processors are a direct result of our constant discussions with car makers who of course want higher performance and efficiency but want to see chip makers prioritize innovating for safety and ensuring their processors include the latest functional safety standards and certifications. Car makers are tired of seeing safety treated as an afterthought and taking a backseat (no pun intended) to performance. As Arm VP of Automotive, Lakshmi Mandyam states in her blog today, if consumers don’t trust the autonomous systems in their cars are safe, then mass market acceptance of this technology will be slow to happen. 

Arm’s AE processors will be the most safety-critical products we can and will design. AE processors will go through a rigorous functional safety process and include safety innovations like dual-core lock-step to ensure redundancy in our CPU cores. In fact, we’ve integrated functional safety into other system IP including the IP connecting multiple CPU clusters and memory management. And as Arm develops more purpose-built automotive compute IP such as ML processors and GPUs, you can be certain the same safety-first principle will guide those designs.  

No one else in the industry can match our track record of delivering products with the latest functional safety standards across the entire vehicle. In fact, Arm is unmatched when it comes to enabling compute in vehicles. The presence of Arm IP is truly bumper-to-bumper with 65 percent of today's automated driver assistance (ADAS) applications running on Arm IP as well as 85 percent of in-vehicle information systems.

Arm technology in automotive

The world's most sophisticated IoT endpoint

When looking at the future of automotive, it’s the one experience I can point to that truly represents the next transformative convergence point of advanced technologies – ML/AI, the smartphone/mobile experience, IoT and in a couple of years, 5G connectivity. I look at the car as ultimately being the world’s most sophisticated IoT endpoint … with integrated functional safety of course. And even though car makers want to see more compute on board the vehicle and less in the cloud, 5G connectivity will be a vital part in keeping cars safe.

A faster, higher-bandwidth and lower-latency 5G network built for billions of connected devices will keep vehicles connected to communicate road and vehicle system data quickly back to the cloud, while quickly alerting other vehicles to potential hazards another vehicle's data may provide.

5G and the cloud at Arm TechCon

Arm TechCon logo

Speaking of 5G and the cloud, if you’re planning to attend Arm TechCon in a few weeks (Oct. 16-18) you will hear from Drew Henry, GM of Arm’s infrastructure line of business on Arm’s vision for the infrastructure that will enable a trillion connected devices and get a first look at our roadmap for processors uniquely designed for server and networking applications. I hope to see you there.

Register for Arm TechCon

Anonymous