AI for saving lives in automotive  

AI for saving lives in automotive  

Interviews |
By Nick Flaherty

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With ARM preparing to update its automotive offering, Nick Flaherty sat down with Dennis Laudick, vice president of automotive go-to-market at ARM.  

The biggest drive for ARM in automotive is around autonomy and ADAS, he says, and AI is a key part of this says Laudick.

“When I talk about AI the first thing I think about is saving lives, so it’s as exciting as it is comforting,” he said. “We are getting to the point where AI is being mandated in cars because its driven by safety. It is already saving lives. With AI we can chase zero deaths as a realistic goal and the amount of compute that needs is astronomical with low power as well.”

“I started off with mechanical cars, then electronic and now software and I wonder if there is a point in time where automotive becomes the largest electronics and technology consumer. The trajectory is one of the strongest growth markets and I genuinely cannot see the end of it,” he said.

“More performance means more sensors, which means more computation, which saves lives,” he said.

There’s a confluence of all sorts of technologies, from the Cortex-M microcontrollers to the A-class application processor cores to the high performance Neoverse E, N and V class cores for data centre performance.

“What I’m seeing right now is from an automotive perspective we consume the lot. We see the need the agility of IoT and mobile to meet the demands of software so I’m trying to help leverage what we have learned from other markets in automotive,” said Laudick.

Connectivity is part of the story, especially given ARM’s history in driving the smartphone application processor market and the importance of low power.

“We do have a good footprint in connectivity,” said Laudick. “It’s a critical component but it’s a means to enabling a lot of capability, Once the car is connected then there over the air updates which are heading towards being mandatory and then it becomes a living breathing technology evolution.”

“One of the most frustrating things about the car for me as a technologist is that once you drive it off the forecourt it become sold. If you can upgrade it then the consumer expectations change and the suppliers and software creativity respond to that.”

AI is a key part of this, but from a CPU perspective.

“CPUs are foundational to all compute,” said Laudick. “Accelerators have always been bolted to those CPUS.  At ARM we have been worrying about AI and our CPUS for maybe 15 years. With the v9 architecture there’s the SVE vector extensions to help with AI and there are micro changes all the time.”

“But the set up, the management and the fallback of AI all comes back to the CPU, and wherever you add accelerators you have to do it in a balanced way,” he said.


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