These larger, higher-resolution and more responsive screens are enabling drivers and passengers to interact with their car in more natural and intuitive ways. It is, therefore, a necessity – not merely a nice to have – for car OEMs to move from smaller CPUs or microcontrollers to more powerful GPUs to drive those screens, and given this, embedded GPUs have made obvious inroads in this area.
Why GPUs are the obvious choice for automotive
Compared to graphics, ADAS asks different questions of the GPU, requiring something very different than traditional rendering. If we look at computer graphics, the use of compute shaders is now a standard for delivering advanced graphical effects. Essentially, the GPU runs small computer programs that define the colour and shade of the millions of individual pixels on screen. Rather than graphics, ADAS platforms can leverage this GPU compute capability to process and analyse sensor data in real-time.
And it's not just sensors, but also conventional cameras that feed the GPU the data it's traditionally been happy to work on. Image processing is a natural problem domain for the GPU. Indeed, almost any kind of computationally dense parallel computation is a good fit.