Not the implementation of a prototype computing platform is the real challenge, Sievers pointed out, but turning such a platform into series-ready, automotive-grade car computers. “At present, we do not have enough computing power to realize a level 4 or level 5 vehicle at an economically viable scale – and I would like to emphasize that this holds true for the rest of the industry as well”, Sievers remarked.
Like Reger, Sievers called to drive more attention to the sensing technology. According to the NXP manager, computing platforms are much more in the limelight of the media than sensors, which however creates a misleading picture. “I think that the technological challenges in the area of sensing are widely underestimated today. With better sensors, it would be possible to achieve good results with less computing power”, he said.
Sievers also expects that Qualcomm will help resolving the compute power bottleneck by contributing its highly performant technologies. Qualcomms current lead is based in part on its superior semiconductor technology; the company is already working with smaller silicon geometries – albeit not with automotive-grade silicon. “Nobody has this,” Sievers said. “This is a huge challenge. You cannot simply take a smartphone or PC chip and make it automotive-ready. There is a whole range of physical limitations that are not easy to overcome. NXP has the technology to solve today’s problems; it however would probably be difficult to solve the problems of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow with this technology. This will get significantly easier with Qualcomm.”