Mentor steers a course for Level 5 autonomous driving

Mentor announces the intent, architecture and concept for its DRS360 Platform. The hardware and software platform has been developed for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 manufacturers to enable level five autonomous driving via centralised raw data fusion and direct real-time sensing.

DRS360 uses what Mentor describes as breakthrough technology to capture, fuse and use raw data in real-time from a range of sensing modalities, including radar, lidar, vision and other sensors. It names Sony as a partner for vision sensors. The DRS360 platform delivers dramatic improvements in latency reduction, sensing accuracy and overall system efficiency required for SAE level five autonomous vehicles.

In a first for autonomous driving platforms, DRS360 directly transmits unfiltered information from all system sensors to a central processing unit, where raw sensor data is fused in real-time at all levels. The platform employs raw data sensors, which do not have the power, cost and size penalties of microcontrollers and related processing in the sensor nodes, points out Mentor. Eliminating pre-processing microcontrollers from all system sensor nodes enables advantages such as real-time performance, ‘”significant” reductions in system cost and complexity, and access to all captured sensor data for the highest resolution model of the vehicle’s environment and driving conditions.

The streamlined data transport architecture lowers system latency by minimising physical bus structures, hardware interfaces and complex, time-triggered Ethernet backbones. The scalable architecture enables the high performance computing (HPC) to be replaced as needed when new silicon becomes available.

The architecture also enables situation-adaptive redundancy and dynamic resolution by using centralised, unfiltered sensor data. The optimised signal processing software, advanced algorithms, and compute-optimised neural networks for machine learning run on a seamlessly integrated, automotive-grade platform.

The DRS360 platform is engineered for production to meet the safety, cost, power, thermal and emissions requirements for deployment in ISO 26262 ASIL D-compliant systems. It uses FPGAs for signal processing efficiency, deploying a Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC device in the first generation. It also accommodates system on chips (SoCs) and safety controllers, based on either X86- or ARM-based architectures. The result, says Mentor, is a comprehensive solution that supports fully automated driving within a 100W power envelope.

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