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Audi selects Altera SoC FPGAs for production zFAS piloted-driving systems

Altera Corporation announced that its SoC field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have been selected for use in Audi’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) for piloted driving targeted for mass production.

Altera said that Audi and Austrian high-tech company TTTech, the core-development partner for Audi’s central driver assistance control unit zFAS (zentrale Fahrerassistenzsteuergerät, earlier post), chose the Altera Cyclone V SoC FPGA for its ability to increase system performance and enable the differentiated features Audi requires for piloted driving and parking not available with application-specific standard product (ASSP) solutions.

Altera’s SoC FPGAs integrate a flexible fabric and CPU that enable us to deliver leading-edge communication safety and a vastly accelerated, yet very robust software integration process to Audi on their way towards the vision of piloted driving. FPGAs are well-suited to manage this type of complex computing and networking. They still remain an affordable and low-power solution.

—Dr. Stefan Poledna, TTTech’s co-founder and executive board member

Altera: Automotive Vision System Design Variables and FPGA Advantages
Design Challenges System Variables FPGA Advantages
Data acquisition Different camera sensor resolutions, frame rates; different types of sensors required (radar, laser, video). No standard way to communicate data into car network. Customized sensor interfaces and intellectual property (IP) cores to enable connectivity to any automotive network standard.
Data processing Varying image processing algorithms for image correction and video analytics. Stitching multiple camera data into a 360° image. Fusing multiple types of sensor data. Real-time processing requirements. Ability to implement customized algorithms in hardware and software for video and image processing.
Communications Different communication standards for audio/video data, such as media-oriented system transport (MOST), Ethernet, and LVDS. Need to connect all systems together in a single low-cost system bus. Ability to design the exact type and number of communications interfaces needed for your advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) application.

In general, Altera’s Cyclone V devices are designed to accommodate the shrinking power consumption, cost, and time-to-market requirements as well as and the increasing bandwidth requirements for high-volume and cost-sensitive applications.

The Cyclone V SoC FPGAs combine programmable logic with dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processors that allow ADAS platform designers to customize the hardware and software running in their products. This combination provides powerful building blocks to accelerate algorithms commonly used in ADAS designs.

Audi’s zFAS control unit is a fully centralized ADAS module that processes all self-driving functions in a single unit, unlike other architectures which have multiple modules distributed throughout the vehicle. In zFAS, Altera’s FPGAs deliver performance-critical functions of sensor fusion, combining data from multiple sensors in the vehicle for highly reliable object detection and Deterministic Ethernet communications used to transport high bandwidth data within the vehicle.

TTTech’s Deterministic Ethernet IP solutions address the increased bandwidth and software integration requirements found in next-generation ADAS applications. The developed safety platform for semi-autonomous operations combines high-performance computing with functional safety and accelerated software integration.

TTTech’s TTEthernet IP, software integration and safety platform integrated within Altera’s FPGAs deliver a highly efficient, scalable and high-performance solution for next generation ADAS systems.

Altera is one of the key parts of zFAS, our highly advanced high-performance central driver assistance control unit that enables a car to sense and react to changing situations on the road. With TTTech, Altera, NVIDIA [earlier post] and our other partners, we are delivering piloted driving that allows our customers to experience a new level of performance and safety in fully featured vehicles from Audi.

—Ricky Hudi, executive vice president, Electronics, Audi AG

Audi zFAS unit shown at 2014 CES. Click to enlarge.


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