Tier ones at Auto Shanghai: New HPC generation, dovetailing with the cloud

April 22, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Tier ones at Auto Shanghai: New HPC generation, dovetailing with the cloud
At Auto Shanghai, the automotive technology suppliers Continental and ZF showed their latest developments in driver assistance and vehicle electronics. While ZF put the focus on the new generation of its vehicle high-performance computers, Continental highlighted the connection of the vehicle to the cloud.

ZF presented the latest generation of its ProAI central computer for cars at the auto show in China - which, by the way, was held as a real trade fair with human visitors instead of a virtual event. These computers take over the control in the automation of driving - in a very wide range from level 2 (automatic parking, traffic jam assistant, etc) to level 5 (robot taxi without a human driver). Since these autonomy levels place very different tasks on the computers and their performance, ZF emphasises the scalability of their design. Most of these computing platforms will probably be based on corresponding pre-configured systems from Nvidia, but ZF emphasises that depending on the performance requirements, SoCs from other manufacturers will also be used. The new ProAI generation will go into series production in 2024 - coincidentally, this coincides with the availability of Nvidia's next-gen HPC platform Altan, which was unveiled last week.


The performance data - up to 1000 TOPS - is also in line with what Nvidia is touting. The power consumption is 3 TOPS per watt, which, however, then requires active cooling, in the case of the most powerful models even by liquid. However, according to ZF, this is in any case significantly lower than the electrical power consumed by the current generation - according to ZF, power consumption has been reduced by 70%.

The ProAI is designed to fuse the signals from all the data-heavy all-round sensors of future generations of cars and process AI algorithms to make decisions.

With all these features, ZF's ProAI is strikingly similar to its counterpart from Continental, the current generation of which is already installed in Volkswagen's ID.3 and ID.4 electric cars.

In addition to the ProAI, ZF showed a system for automated, driverless parking (valet parking) in Shanghai that, in contrast to a system presented earlier by Bosch, works independently of the infrastructure. ZF's vSLAM (Visual

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