|First device in the new Visconti3 series. Click to enlarge.|
Toshiba Corporation recently launched the third generation of its Visconti series of image recognition processors, Visconti3.
Toshiba initially developed the Visconti series of image recognition processors to advance the creation of camera-based vision systems for automotive applications. The processors recognize traffic lanes, vehicles, pedestrians, traffic signs and more. Both the Visconti2 and 3 series devices incorporate image processing accelerators that detect pedestrians with high level detection ratio in real time.
Visconti3 offers improvements in functionality, performance and software development efficiency. The first device in this new series, TMPV7528XBG, is enhanced by the integration of additional processor cores to support various applications. Sample shipments will start this month.
Visconti3 lowers the software-development hurdle for customers by integrating an ARM 32-bit RISC Cortex-A9 MPCore (2 cores) dedicated to supporting applications interfacing with the image recognition processor. Integration of the ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore improves connectivity to car navigation systems, smartphones and cloud-based services and makes it easier for customers to implement features during software development.
Image recognition algorithms and software in embedded image recognition processors must analyze large volumes of image data from the video source, frame-by-frame, in real time, but with limited power consumption and memory resources. Some algorithms for this are difficult to achieve without an FPU (floating point unit), and for this reason Visconti3 integrates a single/double-precision FPU into each core of the ARM processor.
With Visconti3, Toshiba will also seek to expand the image recognition processor business beyond automotive systems into camera-based vision systems for industrial applications. The company targets annual sales of 2 million Visconti image recognition processors in fiscal 2015.
Background. Advances continue in bringing driver assistance and safety systems to road vehicles. The next impetus will come in the EU, where the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) requires automobile companies to introduce autonomous braking systems next year.
These will initially cover other vehicles, and will be extended to include pedestrians in 2016. Toshiba expects initiatives such as Euro NCAP to spur 50-100% growth in the global market for automotive image recognition processors between fiscal 2010 and 2015, from ¥75 billion to ¥100 billion (US$800 million to US$1.1 billion).
Toshiba has played a pioneering role in image recognition processors. It commercialized Visconti in 2004 and the improved Visconti2 in 2011.