Graphics processor IP meets automotive safety criteria

July 08, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Graphics processor IP meets automotive safety criteria
Some graphic displays in cars and trucks are highly safety-relevant: Digital dashboards, or camera-based driver assistant systems. For such functions, designers have to ensure the functional safety at system level. The XS Graphics Processor IP from Imagination Technologies offers functional safety at component level.

British IP vendor Imagination Technologies has introduces a new product family that targets in the first place safety-relevant displays in the car. In addition, the new XS GPU product class offers, besides graphics, the other benefits associated with a GPU (Graphics Processor Unit), such as compute acceleration and parallelization of specific tasks. According to the vendor, the XS family of semiconductor IP is the first licensable IP in the industry that meets the functional safety standard ISO 26262. OEMs, Tier ones and semiconductor vendors can integrate the IP with the confidence and knowledge that ISO 26262 is achieved, says Andrew Girdler, Product Marketing Engineer at Imagination.

As automotive systems get more complex, the requirements for functional safety increases. The new safety architecture contains patent pending technology that enables Imagination to secure and verify the correct execution and delivery of data from the GPU. Going beyond lockstep mechanisms, XS includes hardware mechanisms that carry out safety-critical workloads across compute and graphics while maximising performance.

The XS design employs a safety architecture with specific mechanisms for compute and graphics delivering up to 2x higher performance for critical workloads, enabling rich, high-performance graphics that are functionally safe. Toward this end, Imagination has redesigned its GPU to include safety at every level, creating bespoke cores to meet the needs of the automotive market. Specific design features of this architecture include Tile Region Protection and hardware virtualization. Since these features are in hardware, they can be employed without a performance penalty.

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