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NXP platform to streamline design of self-driving cars

18 May 2016

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NXP Semiconductors N.V. has developed what it says is a comprehensive and highly manufacturable autonomous vehicles platform using its BlueBox engine, as well as deploying NXP silicon and software solutions at each ADAS node. According to the company, the technology combines the BlueBox central computing engine, together with radar, lidar and vision sensing, not to mention an onboard secure V2X system.

Already in customers' hands at four of the top five largest carmakers in the world, the BlueBox engine works in NXP's comprehensive autonomous vehicles platform to provide OEMs and their suppliers with the technology they need to meet the stringent safety, power and processing performance requirements of the global automotive industry, using readily available NXP technology. The free programmability, outstanding performance-per-power ratios, and deep system awareness of NXP's autonomous vehicles platform makes it an exceptional resource for the near-term creation of radically innovative self-driving cars, indicated the company.

BlueBox engine

Figure 1: The BlueBox engine works in NXP's autonomous vehicles platform to provide the technology needed to meet the stringent safety, power and processing performance requirements of the automotive industry.

In autonomous vehicles systems, multiple streams of sensor data are routed to the BlueBox engine, where they are fused to create a complete 360° world model around the vehicle. This functionality greatly improves car safety by both managing and preventing emergency situations. BlueBox and its connected secure smart solutions also incorporate the embedded intelligence and machine learning required for complete situational assessments, supporting advanced classification tasks, object detection, localisation, mapping and vehicle driving decisions.

Unlike closed systems focused only on vision or other single-sensor data streams, the NXP BlueBox engine for autonomous vehicles is an open-platform, Linux-based solution programmable in linear C language that automotive manufacturers can easily customize to their needs for optimal product differentiation.

NXP's BlueBox Engine

The BlueBox engine incorporates NXP's S32V automotive vision processor, as well as the company's LS2088A embedded compute processor, which is among the highest performing embedded products ever developed for the performance-hungry networking market. The LS2088A processor integrates eight 64bit ARM Cortex-A72 cores running at 2GHz, along with specialized accelerators, high performance communications interfaces, DDR4 memory controllers for extremely low latency, and more. The result is an exceptionally high-performance solution, providing BlueBox with 90,000DMIPS of performance at under 40W, thereby eliminating the need for fans, liquid cooling or other exotic thermal management componentry. The S32V processor includes graphics engines, dedicated high performing image processing accelerators, as well as modern sensor fusion functionality, high-performance ARM cores and advanced APEX image processing. Together, these NXP processors can power the autonomous car of the future, today, noted the company.

NXP's BlueBox solution has been shipping to select customers since September 2015, and is broadly available.

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