SSZTBY5 november   2015


  1.   1
  2.   2
    1.     3

Somnath Mukherjee

If we look back into the history of the human race and its progress in science and engineering, it would be apparent that we have learned so much from Mother Nature and its creatures. For example, Meerkats are little creatures which are known for their agility to spot danger. Their main protection mechanism is their ability to sense the danger reliably and communicate it to the rest of the clan. It is a characteristic which I find amusingly relevant in the context of Informational Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) category of products. Informational ADAS (InfoADAS) is about augmenting existing infotainment systems with sensors and cameras for incorporating the driver-assist features like Around-View for park assist, pedestrian detection, cyclist detection, and so on. Unlike, classical ADAS, an InfoADAS system does not take control of the accelerator, brake and clutch of your car. However, the system as a whole is required to produce and present vehicle information to the driver reliably – just like the sentries in a Meerkat clan would do. Every Meerkat clan, which consists of 5 to 20 members, has a few or one of them assigned to perform the job of sentry – responsible for spotting any danger in the vicinity. Be it producing some unpleasant but much needed bleep and beep, drawing some signs and symbols on the Head-Up Display (HUD), on detection of sleepy eyes behind the steering or an oncoming pedestrian, the InfoADAS category of products are expected to produce and present such information to the driver in the most reliable manner.


The co-processors and peripherals in the “Jacinto 6” family of infotainment processors can help us produce and present the information reliably; this information empowers us as drivers! If this space of InforADAS is like Meerkats, the “Jacinto 6” family of devices is the best habitat for them. Let’s see why!

The DRA75x processors, “Jacinto 6 EP” and “Jacinto 6 Ex”, are equipped with multiple co-processors and are suitable for augmenting the existing Infotainment features. The “Jacinto 6 Ex” consists of powerful C66x DSPs, the ARM® Cortex-M4s and Embedded Vision Engines (EVE), along with the main processing unit, the ARM® Cortex-A15. The vision (image processing and analytics) subsystem that implements key parts of driver-assist features for InfoADAS products can be deployed on these optimized, programmable co-processors. Such co-processors assist with increasing the reliability of the system as a whole, by distributing and isolating the subsystems – it’s not only about taking the processing burden off from the ARM® Cortex®-A15:

  • Cortex-M4 Subsystems: To a system engineer’s delight there are two ARM Cortex-M4 subsystems, each containing two ARM Cortex-M4 microprocessors. They can host some important parts of the vision subsystem, including interfacing to video peripherals required for implementation of driver-assist features. This distribution provides a way to isolate input handling from processing and provide greater options for fault detection and tolerance.
  • Embedded Vector Engine: The EVE(s) are known for their ability to perform vector processing for driver-assist features like pedestrian detection and lane detection  and still remain “cool” by performing those tasks on performance and power-optimized cores – an important aspect from a thermal reliability point of view for the harsh embedded automotive environment.
  • C66x DSP Subsystem: The powerful C66x DSPs can host the computation intensive algorithms for the driver-assist features.

The InfoADAS category of products would require the Linux, Android or QNX type of high-level OS deployed on the Cortex-A15 for concurrent operation of Infotainment features. In some situations, it may be necessary to isolate the InfoADAS system on the high-level OS by running them from a separate virtual machine while the rest of the IVI applications run from another. Compared to its predecessors, the Cortex-A15 is best suited for H/W assisted virtualization.

The driver-assist features can co-exist with modern infotainment features, powered by a “Jacinto 6” family device. Naturally, reliability of the driver-assist information, produced and presented to the display in front of the driver, becomes an implicit requirement for a product of this kind. The “Jacinto 6” family of devices offers a balanced blend of processing and reliability that will help the automakers and automotive system integrators, placing the Meerkats behind the wheels, today. That may be a small but important step towards the brave future of autonomous driving.