ARM reckons that the computational power in your car is set to increase by 100X in the next ten years, mainly through the growth of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems). These systems use sensors of many kinds to gather information about the environment, process it, and present it to the driver. While at one level all that ADAS is doing is what a reasonably alert driver does- notices speed limit signs, the position of other vehicles etc, at the next level it gets more exciting. In poor light conditions ADAS can use visual light and RADAR sensors to see better, will use image processing to decide if the dimly seen figure is a pedestrian, a cyclist or a street light and then calculate likely paths, if it is not a street light.
Just that one example will use a ton of processing power and, as the information is safety-critical, the systems to do this will have to be developed accordingly. This, in the automotive environment, means that they will need to conform to ISO 26262, which requires a mass of documentation about the components in use and the software running in the systems. Earlier this year ARM announced a package of safety documentation and support for the Cortex-R5, a core that a number of chip companies are using in processors for automotive applications.
They have now extended the programme to the Cortex-A family, with packages available for the Cortex-A53, the Cortex-A57 and the big beast of the ARM family launched earlier this year, the Cortex-A72.
SoC implementers will get help with the development and safety assessment of SoC designs to help meet the functional safety standards such as ISO 26262 and IEC 61508 through a documentation package. The package includes a safety manual, a FMEA (Failure Modes and Effects Analysis) report and a development interface report. This should shorten significantly the time and effort needed for a certification programme within an SoC company.
ARM intends to provide the same package for other processors once they have waded through the huge amount of work that providing the package involves.