Arm Holdings, a company that specializes in technology for electronic chips has announced that it would be collaborating with automakers like Toyota and General Motors. The British firm which is owned by the Japanese company, Softbank Group Corp will be collaborating with these companies on a project to establish common computing systems for self-driving cars.
Arm does not make chips but does supply the technology that is used for the processors in devices like smartphones.. The company had started working with automotive firms back in the late 1990s, when car manufacturers first began using computer chips in their models for functions like engine control and diagnostics.
Arm ahs said that it would be a part of an effort to create the Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium, or AVCC, with suppliers like Bosch, Denso, Continental and the two automotive manufacturers. Semiconductor companies, Nvidia Corp and NXP Semiconductors, which use Arm’s technology in their chips will also be a part of the consortium.
It is expected that the use of chips in vehicles will grow at an exponential rate in the future with the advent of electric and autonomous cars. Currently, test vehicles which are being used to develop self-driving software use the kind of chips that are used in data centers and need a lot of electric power. Both chip manufacturers and car manufacturers agree that more efficient and smaller chips are the need of the hour for making cheaper and more efficient cars that can be used by the general public.
“I just came back from trips in the U.S. and China and had the opportunity to ride in four different types of autonomous vehicles. They were great prototype platforms for proving the software, but when I asked to look at the electronics powering these vehicles, it literally was servers in trunks,” Chet Babla, Arm’s vice president of automotive, told Reuters in an interview. “We’ve got a long way to go.”
The AVCC will serve as an independent group that will be funded through membership fees from the companies that join. The outcome of the work done by the member companies will be available to non-members.
The consortium’s first task will be to set up a common computing architecture so that it will be easier for automotive companies to develop software that will work on chips from different suppliers.
“The massive amount of technological innovation required to power fully self-driving vehicles at scale requires collaboration at an industry level,” Massimo Osella, chairman of the new group’s board and a lab group manager for research and development at GM, said in a statement.
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