The car is undergoing a massive change driven by an increase of electronics systems being designed in to make the experience of driving a car safer, more secure, more connected and more convenient. Automotive markets in emerging countries such as China, India, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia are exploding, and while the overall number of cars is increasing incrementally, the number of chips in each car is growing quickly, with an average of 40+ microprocessors in a mid-range car.
There are several areas that will be important over the next decade. We are focused on delivering complete solutions to our licensee partners and others in the value chain so they can build multimedia rich, secure, connected and autonomous cars.
The dashboard is being transformed into an internet connected multimedia experience. Many new technologies are being deployed, such as Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink and Android Auto.
ADAS (Automatic Driver Assist Systems) is the first set of building blocks toward a fully autonomous vehicle. The car is now being covered in sensors: multiple cameras giving 360 degree viewing, short- and long-range radar, LIDAR for millimeter accurate point-cloud creation, infrared for parking and sonar for short range detection – and all of these require massive amounts of processing.
With the rise of electric/hybrid electric vehicles, largely driven by government subsidies and low/no emission car legislation, more electronics are required to control all aspects of the control of charging and discharging the latest batteries.
Vehicles today can have up to 11 different wireless interfaces and standards supported. Technologies such as LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, NFC, RFID and GPS are now deployed throughout cars. This enables vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to -infrastructure (V2I) communications, where cars and roadside installations can communicate and transfer useful information. MIPS multi-threading technology plays a key role in many leading LTE chips.
With the increase in wireless technologies, comes the ability for them to be compromised. The more wireless interfaces the greater the number of attack surfaces. There are recent examples of cars being taken over remotely by attacks on something as mundane as the tire pressure monitors. We now also have to take into consideration new roadside infrastructures and smart cities/highways. Many jurisdictions like EU, NHTSA and the Japanese equivalent are spending huge amounts of resources to understand the liability of such security issues. We understand these issues well and have a hardware virtualized solution, backed up by a “root of trust” embedded core, that enables our customers to feel confident in delivering a secure solution from the silicon up.
The safety angle is being addressed by standards, notably ISO 26262, which defines a level of functional safety, with ASIL D being at a level where an unknown fault, can cause a fatal accident. Much effort is now being put into ensuring that our cores meet the requirements for supporting ASIL levels, so that it is easier for our partners to deliver on their safety promise.
To address these areas we have a range of scalable technologies that can be combined to enable low cost, low power, code efficient systems, as well as graphics and processing intensive high-end systems.
MIPS 32-bit MCU, MPU: Ideal for electronic control units within the car. Mainly in body electronics i.e. windscreen wipers, electric windows, etc. and in electric/hybrid powertrain where there can be several separate microcontrollers. The vast majority of MCU/MPUs in a car are in the chassis/body/powertrain electronics.
MIPS 64-bit: Mainly targeted at ADAS and infotainment functions, either running some of the complex algorithms or making decisions based on the object recognition or hardware accelerators.
The latest MIPS CPUs support hardware virtualization, which allows for multiple operating systems and applications to reside in isolated environments, running completely independently of each other, i.e. ‘virtual sandboxing’.
MIPS multi-domain security technology is based on hardware virtualization and a hardware “root of trust” as well as other encryption and secure technologies. Any devices will boot from secure ROM into a secure state, verified at each level to ensure a trusted device onto which our partners can develop.