During the Arm TechCon earlier this month, a group of automotive and technology companies, including the likes of General Motors, NXP Semiconductors, and Toyota, openly declared their support for the new Arm-led Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium (AVCC) that plans to develop APIs that sit above current AV hardware.
The goal of the AVCC is to optimise semiconductor solutions by creating a standardized set of requirements for hardware. Armando Pereira, President of the AVCC, stressed that the group's focus is predominately—but not soley—on hardware and that "Those in the AV industry are seeing a huge opportunity in it [the AVCC], because they want to develop AVs that are less power hungry, and that can be manufactured at scale…"
The move by Arm to put together this consortium confirms what many have thought to be true for a long time—that suppliers know that collaboration is necessary, and that developing AV tech is a tough task due to the many different processor types, memory types, and then some.
Image courtesy of AVCC.
While the Arm-led consortium features many big names, it is important to pay close attention to names that are not party to it. These include BMW, Qualcomm, Tesla, and uber, to name a few. However, the consortium is still in its early days and Pereira is confident that "more OEMs… will sign up."
A majority of the companies already part of the consortium are existing Arm licensees. NXP Semiconductors, for example, use Arm cores in their AV SoCs.
What Is The Consortium Working On?
Speaking to EETimes, Pereira said that the consortium will be working on areas such as "interfaces with sensors" and "data flow" of images inside AVs. He did remain somewhat tight lipped, however, refusing to answer specific questions.
On the front of sensor fusion, one major problem is whether AVs should do it early or late. As you may well know, the AV industry is still very split on its approaches to system architecture and it is not immediately clear how the AVCC will, or even can, push its members to reaching an agreement. Pereira did comment that the group will be working on this front, however, but said that none of its members are yet in a position to comment on possible outcomes.
Given that the consortium has only just gone public, the AVCC website lists no helpful information, either. What we do know is that the AVCC absolutely will not be working on software—this is being handled by another industry group.