Korean researchers devise single-chip brains for autonomous cars

January 29, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The automotive industry and its suppliers at all levels have made considerable efforts in recent years to find out which computing architecture is probably the best for autonomous driving. Now the Korean research institute ETRI has introduced a chip that integrates everything a car needs to be able to drive autonomously, the creators promise.

The Processor Research Group at ETRI has announced the development of Aldebaran5, a processor for self-driving cars. Aldebaran5 features nine cores to provide high computing power as well as safety mechanisms to ensure reliability for automotive applications, while exhibiting industry leading power efficiency (~1 watt) and a tiny form factor (smaller than the size of a nail head.)

Codenamed Aldebaran5 after the brightest star in the constellation of Taurus, the chip is a significantly upgraded version of its predecessor. Four of its nine cores are dynamically programmable to operate for performance or for reliability. Safety features adhering to international standards ensure reliability with 99% detection coverage of faults and malfunctions and includes recovery mechanisms to mitigate potential negative effects. While the creators of the chip did not mention it explicitly, this probably refers to the ISO standard 26262 which describes the features and development process of safety-relevant components and software.

Dedicated custom-designed acceleration circuitry for image recognition and HEVC (high efficiency video coding) as well as CAN bus communication hardware and an image signal processor (ISP) are integrated into the SoC, all combining to provide a robust and streamlined computing platform designed for autonomous vehicle applications.


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