The advancements in semiconductor industry starting picking up with the rise in performance of processors driving the computer industry. Next, the mobile segment opened floodgates when the PC market stagnated & then low power with smaller dimensions on top of performance drove the innovation in silicon implementation. The industry today is at cross roads once again awaiting the next big thing. Automotive is one of the key areas to get the ball rolling yet again. But then, each domain has its characteristics that needs to be aligned to!
Apurva Kalia, Vice President of R&D focusing on Automotive solutions at Cadence picks on an interesting topic for his DV track keynote on Day 1 at DVCon India 2017. With the auto industry shifting gears into autonomous cars, the question worth asking is – Would you send your child to school in an autonomous car? Yes, that’s the theme of Apurva’s keynote and here’s a sneak peek on this topic.
Apurva your keynote focusses on ‘autonomous cars’ – the talk of the town these days. Tell us more about it?
Well, there is major inflection point coming up in automotive electronics. We all know that Moore’s Law driven advances in cost per transistor and capacity have been holding up for many years. Complex chips are now possible within a cost factor that was not possible earlier. Moreover advances in algorithms, especially Machine Learning, now enables much more complex processing, especially vision based processing, to be done in real time. Both these trends coming together with advances in sensor technology has enabled systems to be created which can detect their environment quite accurately and in real time. This is the basis of autonomous driving. Also, as we know, every few years the semiconductor industry is looking for the next big trend which will drive the fab capacity. The above factors are pushing autonomous driving to be the talk of the town.
Security & Safety are emerging areas resulting from this topic. How does this change the way we verify our designs?
As I described above, with autonomous driving really taking off, these systems are becoming mission critical for the automobile. This means that the system needs to be safe and secure. It is inconceivable for a car to stop working at 80 kmph on a highway! Also, with the car needed to be connected to other cars and even to infrastructure and internet, this opens the system to attacks and makes it vulnerable. Therefore, these systems needs to make safe and secure to ensure safety and security of the automobile.
What are the solutions that the EDA industry is driving to enable ISO 26262 requirements from process & product perspective?
ISO26262 is the main standard that defines the safety requirements for automobiles. It is a very comprehensive standard which places requirements on all automotive systems. In fact edition 2 of the standard – coming out in Jan 2018 – will focus specially on semiconductors. Given the excitement around automotive electronics and autonomous systems, EDA industry needs to retool rapidly to address this need. Ensuring safety in these designs requires additional design and verification flows, methodologies and tool changes. The EDA industry needs to step up to define and create these flows, methodologies and tools required.
What are your views on the couple of accidents that happened in the US with autonomous cars? What could have been done better?
We are at early stages of this technology. Unfortunately as with any new technology, technology will take time to stabilize. In the meantime, during this stabilization time, unfortunate things like these accidents could happen. Organizations and individuals who are early adopters of these technologies take these risks, but they also contribute in a big way for advancement of these technologies. However, with the proper use of tools, implementation of standards, and focus on new solutions, we can avoid these kind of accidents.
How do you observe the adoption of autonomous cars across the globe & in India?
Autonomous cars are here to stay. They are solving real problems in real environments. We already have examples of autonomous cars on real roads – driving very safely. In fact, there are statistics which show that autonomous cars will actually cut down on accidents and fatalities – the most of which are caused by human error. Last year, I saw an engineering college in Delhi demonstrate an autonomous vehicle in Govindpuri – one of the most congested areas of Delhi. So this technology is real and works. I think it is just a matter of a few years when we will see this mainstream.
Do you see all workhorses (Simulation, Emulation & Formal) playing a critical role in realizing Auto grade designs?
Yes – all current EDA technologies – not just verification technologies, but even implementation technologies – need to be upgraded to support safety and security design and verification. All engines will need enhancements and special features to support these new requirements and flows.
This is the 4th edition of DVCon in India. What are your expectations from the conference?
I have seen DVCon India grow from humble beginnings to an excellent conference today. I think this conference provides a very good platform to share and discuss new trends in design and verification. I look forward to stimulating conversations on new flows and technologies. This conference attracts many design companies and all EDA vendors in India – what better assemblage of the right people for these discussions.
Thank you Apurva!
Join us on Day 1 (Sep 14) of DVCon India 2017 at Leela Palace, Bangalore to attend this keynote and other exciting topics.
Disclaimer: “The postings on this blog are my own and not necessarily reflect the views of Aricent”