MADISON, Wis. – Renesas Electronics emerged from a prolonged silence with a bang Wednesday morning (Japan time), heralding the launch of Renesas Autonomy, a newly-designed advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving platform.
Although details of the platform remain sketchy (the company isn’t yet disclosing all the plaform’s building blocks), Amrit Vivekanand, vice president for automotive business at Renesas Electronics America, stressed that his company’s autonomous vehicle platform stands apart from its competitors because, “This is an open platform.”
The operative word here is “open.”
No one company owns all the key technologies – from sensors to sensor processing and software – necessary to make autonomous cars, he explained. Nor should OEMs and Tier Ones be “locked out” of ADAS/autonomous car modules, he added.
By building “development infrastructure” for the platform, “we hope to make it easy for our customers to plug their proprietary algorithms, libraries and RTOS – into Renesas Autonomy Platform,” Vivekanand said.
Renesas is keeping the key building blocks of the Autonomy Platform under wraps, except for one, “to be announced later,” said the company.
The first product released under the Renesas Autonomy Platform is an image recognition system-on-chip (SoC), called R-Car V3M. Renesas described the high-performance vision SoC as “optimized primarily for use in smart camera applications, as well as surround-view systems or even lidars.”
According to Vivekanand, the R-Car V3M is the first of its kind to achieve ASIL C functional safety level as a standalone SoC. By pairing it with another checkup processing unit, for example, “we can achieve ASIL D” as a system.
ADAS or autonomous?
Without further detail about its Autonomy Platform, it’s hard to say how the Japanese chip supplier’s new platform stacks up against other autonomous platforms.
Mike Demler, senior analyst at The Linley Group, believes, judging from disclosures thus far, the new R-CAR V3M is “really for ADAS, not autonomous driving.” In other words, “To compete for autonomous driving [against Mobileye or Nvidia], Renesas needs to build a more powerful compute platform.”
Referring to Renesas’ vision processor R CAR V3M, Demler pointed out that it’s “for Level 2 Euro-NCAP, which is mandating AEB (Automatic emergency braking).” He noted that V3M “provides the additional controller functions Mobileye lacks in its chips, which is a differentiator.”
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