TI rolls heterogeneous number crunching SoC for automotive video processing

October 17, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Cameras and image processing functions along with downstream sensor fusion algorithms increasingly become the technology of choice when it comes to developing intelligent driver assistance systems which detect and intelligently recognize the surroundings of cars in the flowing traffic. Image processing however demands huge amounts of computing power. Texas Instruments has developed a family of System-on-Chip devices combine the number crunching abilities of a DSP with the properties of a general-purpose microprocessor.

With the TDA2x SoCs, Texas Instruments (TI) follows the approach of a heterogeneous multicore computing resource. With two C66x DSP cores of the latest generation, up to four embedded vision accelerator cores (EVEs) with a capacity of 10.4 GMACs each, two ARM15 cores and two dual ARM M4 cores (for "housekeeping" tasks inside the chip only), the device should offer enough power to process the video input of up to six cameras in real-time and forward it to multiple displays. In addition, this computing environment at chipscale level contains a graphics engine, a display subsystem, a vision acceleration unit and several more functional units and memories. The device is manufactured in 28 nanometre process technology which enables the high degree of integration we see in these chips. The entire chip consumes 2 to 4 Watt of electric power, where the lion's share certainly is allocated to the ARM15 cores.

The three versions of the TDA2x family are optimized for different flavours of image-processing tasks in the car - front camera applications such as lane assist, park assist and sensor fusion to blend signals from cameras, radar and other sources. "Sensor Fusion computers will probably be the most powerful systems in future car generations", believes Frank Forster, ADAS Europe Marketing and System Applications Manager at Texas Instruments.

For developers, TI offers a software development kit and functional libraries, along with the necessary debug tools interface boards and the like.