Charting a Course to the Internet of Vehicles



Security, connectivity and collaboration are making it possible.

Every journey has its key elements, and the one the world is taking to the Internet of Vehicles is no different.  Here are some you may encounter, along with comments from Imagination Technologies perspective.

Secure Handling of Content-Heavy Services

We are beginning to see the Internet of Things extend to vehicles with applications like fleet management. We are on the cusp of some very exciting times, delivering solutions that make the driving experience central. But to drive faster adoption of this trend, semiconductor companies need to do two things. First they must ensure that the Internet of Vehicles is secure from end-to-end. This would enable services to be delivered without being compromised and guarantee key safety features are not susceptible to hacker attacks. Second, they must deliver the richness of processing that is required to handle increasingly content-heavy services—all delivered over connectivity solutions like LTE and 802.11p.

Mobileye-EyeQ4-ADAS_webProtection Beyond Binary-Based Approaches

Security remains one of the biggest challenges for SoC makers in the automotive market. With the increasing number of electronic devices in vehicles, the number of ‘attack surfaces’ available to hackers and the liabilities such attacks can cause are also increasing exponentially.

We believe that security solutions must extend beyond binary CPU-based approaches that have one secure world/one non-secure world. The answer lies in a multi-domain separation-based architecture that takes into account all of the processors on an SoC. In this way, each secure or non-secure application and OS can exist in its own isolated, secure domain where it operates independently. Such an approach will enable automotive designers to separate non-critical applications like infotainment from mission-critical dashboard functions, driving controls and GPS navigation.

OmniShield is our multi-domain security technology that enables security for CPUs, GPUs and other processors on a chip. It is based on hardware virtualization and a hardware root of trust as well as other encryption and security technologies. Devices will boot from secure ROM into a secure state, and will be verified at each level to ensure a trusted device onto which our partners can develop. OmniShield-enabled automotive applications can run a secure hypervisor and then start a range of individual processes, each with its own OS that is completely stand-alone. For example, if one application crashes, there is no memory corruption and no impact on other applications. OmniShield enables up to 255 separate containers to run independently.  

Collaboration to Speed Time to Market

As an IP vendor, Imagination Technologies looks at cutting edge technologies that are at least five years ahead. Collaborating directly with system manufacturers who have a much deeper understanding of the automotive issues means solutions can be designed to meet the specific expectations of the market and can get to market quickly.

In fact, there is a huge ecosystem of automotive partners in ASIC design, software integration and system design who are available to collaborate with the Tier 1 and Tier 2 system manufacturers to help them deliver the exact solutions they are aiming to create for the car industry, rather than relying on standard parts that target a broader audience.

Increasingly Connected

One of the areas gaining enormous traction within the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) market is vision-based applications. For example, Mobileye, the world’s leading supplier of ADAS solutions, uses vision-based technologies for lane departure warning, pedestrian and object detection, intelligent headlight control and other tasks.

The processors driving Mobileye solutions are based on Imagination Technologies MIPS CPUs, and Mobileye’s powerful and energy-efficient EyeQ SoCs are designed to meet the requirements of autonomous cars. For example, the MIPS-based Mobileye EyeQ3 SoC handles the processing required for the highway autopilot feature recently enabled on Tesla cars. In this case, Mobileye used a multicore, multi-threaded MIPS I-class CPU to handle the data streams coming from the multiple cameras installed on the vehicle.

Along this same topic, Renesas recently announced its R-Car H3 SoC featuring our high-end PowerVR GX6650 GPU with 192 ALU cores, and hardware virtualization that meets premium specifications. The R-Car H3 chip is the first member of the third-generation R-Car family that features significantly improved cognitive computing and human-machine interface (HMI) computing capabilities for advanced driving support systems as well as in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems.

And finally as cars are becoming increasingly connected (there can be up to 11 wireless standards supported in cars) there are huge opportunities in V2V, V2I, telematics, internal car Wi-Fi and the Bluetooth capabilities needed for hands-free applications, speakers etc. Our Ensigma line of connectivity IP solutions can enable a broad swath of such features.

MCUs on the Rise

CPUs are available on that target the microcontroller, with one example being our MIPS M-class CPUs. Our M-class M5100/M5150 CPU IP cores with integrated DSP and FPU engines deliver leading performance efficiency and a unique feature set for MCU and embedded markets. The M5150 supports Linux class operating systems in addition to maintaining the real-time/low latency characteristics needed to run an RTOS on the same system. MIPS M-class CPUs deliver 2x higher DSP performance and higher overall performance/MHz versus the competition–with a free, industry-standard GCC compiler.

With hardware virtualization technology built in, designers can save cost and power in their designs, while enabling their customers to create truly differentiated products. They can save costs by safely and securely consolidating multiple CPU cores with a single core, save power where multiple cores are required, and dynamically allocate CPU bandwidth per application. Finally, it can be used to build controllers that can run multiple, unmodified, isolated applications independently and securely at the same time on a single, trusted platform. Our customers’ customers can use this feature to provide a secure path to deliver updates/downloads, and benefit from enhanced IP protection.

Extending the Product Life Cycle

The automotive industry has stringent test and reliability guidelines that must be followed to ensure that there are no built in reliability issues down the line. For example, there is a long qualification cycle to ensure that devices can handle the extreme temperature variations in cars; they also have to undergo stress testing to ensure that the device is reliable for the lifetime of the car. This is something outside of the remit of Imagination. However we help our silicon licensees and their customers, with ISO26262 Functional Safety requirements that are demanded of them as part of the industry’s overall device safety plan. This is to ensure that system faults are detected and handled ahead of time before any accident or unforeseen circumstance.


Bryce_Johnstone-1666-good-close-up_headshotBryce Johnstone is Senior Manager, Automotive Segment Marketing at Imagination Technologies.

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