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ARM reckons smart cars will need 100 times current compute performance by 2024

ARM is widening its support for the auto industry by licensing functional safety support over its Cortex-A, Cortex-R and Cortex-M processors – and the company has said it expects vehicle compute demands to rise rapidly over the next few years and on into the 2020s.

The company observed that today, premium cars can have over 100 processors on board, but future Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) demands – based on the likes of radar and vision tech, and general driver assistance and in-car infotainment – will mean processor performance needs will increase 20 times by 2018 compared to the cars of 2016.

An increase of 40-50 times is expected by 2020, and as mentioned, car compute demands will be 100 times higher in 2024, ARM reckons – and to meet the demands of such cars will require better performing, energy efficient SoCs. “Functional safety” will also be a top priority for the car industry, which is why ARM says it’s set to offer the first applications processor functional safety package for partners.

Chris Webber, VP of automotive at Strategy Analytics, commented: "With an 18 per cent unit CAGR, ADAS features are exhibiting the highest growth within the automotive electronics domain as vehicle makers look to differentiate on enhanced product safety.

“These technologies are stepping stones on the road to fully autonomous driving systems which will demand robust functional safety integrated within the control architecture development. This must be coupled with processors capable of higher performance code execution and data throughput."

ARM notes that its partners are using its tech to deal with ADAS and the likes of infotainment currently, including Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 processors – and both Freescale Semiconductor and Texas Instruments have just announced they will be taking the freshly launched Cortex-A72 processors on board for car SoCs.

Curt Moore, general manager of automotive processors at Texas Instruments, commented: "Today’s consumers expect their driving experience to be fun with increased connectedness and telematics functionality for entertainment purposes, as well as a higher emphasis on ADAS applications to ensure a safe ride.

“As compute performance requirements in infotainment and ADAS applications continue to grow, ARM Cortex-A processors are critical building blocks enabling the next generation driver experience. We are pleased to continue to enable our customers to push the envelope of performance in the ADAS and Infotainment markets through our licensing of the newest ARM Cortex-A72 processor."