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Imagination reveals application thrust with products

Posted: 02 Mar 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Imagination Technologies? connected car? OmniShield? hypervisor? surround sound?

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series that takes an in-depth look at Imagination Technologies, its technology and products, its markets as well as its partners. The company afforded ring-side seats at the Imagination Summit to editors at EE Times China. The series is the result of editors' conversations with Imagination executives.

At the recent Imagination Summit held Shanghai, experts from the company provided market overview, trend analyses and incisive insights into all kinds of innovative products spanning application areas like automotive electronics, consumer electronics, IoT and wearable devices.

Automotive: Driving autonomous, media-rich cars

The automotive industry is rapidly changing. It may not change as fast as the mobile device industry, but it is indeed undergoing a rapid transformation. The increased coverage of government regulations, stricter emission, safety standards and fuel consumption requirements, increased differentiation through electronics features, new safety standards (ISO 26262) and more complex systems have suddenly increased development costs.

Imagination Summit

Figure 1: China's engineers interacting with Imagination experts at their booth.

According to Bryce Johnstone, Imagination's Automotive and Gaming Marketing, , there will be more changes in this market in the next 5 years than there have been in the last 50 years because of traditional markets being overtaken by new APAC markets, new players and many other automotive and traffic safety demands.

"In the future, cars will not be just cars," he said. "In the next five years, the total car/light vehicle market will have a modest growth rate while the connected car market is growing at a CAGR of 45%, which is 10 times that of the total car market. Car manufacturers will increasingly differentiate their products by using Autonomous Driving and Driver Assist (ADAS)/safety-related electronic packages. The number of engine control units (ECUs) per car will increase to 40-150. More and more trials of smart highway/smart city infrastructure will be conducted. Every car will have multiple separate wireless/cellular connections. And semi-autonomous cars and trucks will become a reality faster than market expectations."

In connected cars, multimedia applications are among the most intuitive yet most complex of systems. A multimedia dashboard implies a multi-screen, multi-standard and multi-sensor experience. Johnstone said that ADAS is the key to future autonomous-driving, which means we may need to leverage massively parallel GPUs for complex computation. For example, we can use the graphics power of a PowerVR GPU for infotainment system and cluster rendering, while also relying on the GPU compute capabilities for ADAS camera/sensor processing. PowerVR Video technologies are useful for multi-standard encoding/decoding for front facing/surround cameras, while a lockstep/threaded MIPS CPU can be used for device failsafe and ADAS processing. Imagination provides IPs for all these applications, according to Johnstone. "From MCU to ECU, from application processors to ADAS, MIPS offers the best performance, power and area characteristics." he added.

ADAS/Vision processor

Figure 2: ADAS/Vision processor leveraging Imagination IP.

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