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. Car 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 amount of chips in each car is expanding fast with an average of 40+ microprocessors in a mid-range car.
There are several areas that are coming through as important over the next decade. MIPS is focused on delivering complete solutions to our licensee partners and others in the value chain so they can build towards the multimedia rich, secure, connected, autonomous car.
The dashboard is being transformed into an internet connected multimedia experience. Many new technologies are being deployed or connected to, such as Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink and Android Auto.
(Automatic Driver Assist Systems) ADAS is the first set of building blocks towards a fully autonomous car. 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 – all of these require massive amounts of processing.
With the rise of electric/hybrid electric vehicles, largely driven by government subsidy and legislation for cars with low/no emissions, more electronics are required to control all aspects of the control of charging and discharging of the latest batteries.
Vehicles can now 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 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 the roadside infrastructure and smart cities/highways that are coming in. Many jurisdictions like EU, NHTSA and Japanese equivalent are spending a huge amount of resource understanding the liability of such security issues. MIPS understands these issues well and has 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, that is likely, 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 all the way up to 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 ensure a trusted device onto which our partners can develop.