Renesas meets automotive image processing challenges

February 03, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Self-driving cars rely on their own sensors in the first place, and cameras along with image processing algorithms are increasingly becoming the technology of choice for cars to register their environment. Chipmaker Renesas is addressing the demand for such solutions with a highly customised circuit block - not a product, but the blueprint for future SoCs. The company showcased its technology at the ISSCC semiconductor conference.

The image processing circuitry for autonomous vehicles is required to integrate the functionality of both in-vehicle infotainment systems and driving safety support systems, and to operate both in parallel. In particular, driving safety support systems must be able to process video data from vehicle cameras with low latency to notify the driver of appropriate information in a timely manner. One issue that developers of in-vehicle infotainment systems and driving safety support systems face is the need to process large amounts of video data and also to perform autonomous vehicle control functions, without delays and instability.

Renesas’ new video processing circuit block handles processing of vehicle camera video with low latency. It can perform video processing in real time on large volumes of video data with low power consumption and without imposing any additional load on the CPU and graphics processing unit (GPU), which are responsible for autonomous vehicle control. Renesas has manufactured prototypes of the new video processing circuit block using a 16 nanometer (nm) FinFET process. In addition to 70ms-latency processing of vehicle camera video, it delivers industry-leading Full-HD 12-channel video processing with only 197 mW power consumption.

Recently, in-vehicle infotainment systems foreshadowing the future emergence of autonomous vehicles, such as car navigation systems and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), have made significant advances that bring them closer to becoming automotive computing systems integrating the functionality of both in-vehicle infotainment systems and driving safety support systems.

The video processing circuit block can decode video streams transferred from vehicle cameras and apply distortion correction, with low latency. It performs the complex video processing required by automotive computing systems, delivering real-time performance and low power consumption, while imposing no additional load on the CPU and GPU responsible for cognitive processing tasks.

Key features of the technology:

  • Synchronous operation among video processors, combined with pipeline operation, for video decoding and distortion correction with 70ms latency
  • 17 video processors of six different types,