FPGAs displace ASICs for stereo vision-based ADAS

Article By : Nitin Dahad

Subaru'ss newly launched Levorg car now uses Xilinx FPGAs for stereo vision-based ADAS...

Xilinx announced that its FPGA technology is powering the next generation of Subaru’s Eyesight stereo vision-based advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) in the carmaker’s latest vehicle released today, the Levorg. Replacing the ASICs used previously, Subaru is utilizing Xilinx’ automotive-qualified (XA) Zynq UltraScale+ multi-processor system-on-a-chip (MPSoC) to provide advanced features including adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and pre-collision braking.

Wayne Lyons, director, automotive and strategic customet marketing at Xilinx, said, “Subaru previously had dedicated ASICs but moved to Xilinx because of the adaptability and because they could then do things like firmware upgrades more easily.”

He added that improved features enabled by the switch were almost doubling the field of view, and faster processing. The ability to do curve prediction was particularly important. “They could dedicate additional parts of the FPGA to do sensor fusion from the radar and the forward cameras in the Eyesight system.”

Xilinx Zynq UltraScale MPSoC
The multi-processor SoC FPGA used in the Subaru Eyesight system (Image: Xilinx)

The Xilinx device processes stereo images into 3D point clouds with the ultra-low latency and functional safety (ASIL) capabilities required to enable the EyeSight system to accurately understand and react to dynamic driving scenarios. The latest generation of Subaru’s vision based system includes enhanced capacity to avoid intersection and urban area accidents, such as hitting a pedestrian while turning and avoidance by steering, as well as enhanced driver monitoring and error response, such as driver distraction, loss of consciousness and unintentional acceleration.

The chief technology officer at Subaru Corp., Tetsuo Fujinuki, said, “Stereo cameras are at the heart of Subaru’s ADAS applications. Unlike common approaches, the image processing technology adopted in our new generation system scans everything captured by stereo cameras and creates high-precision 3D point clouds, enabling us to offer advanced features such as pre-collision braking at an intersection and assisting with hands-off driving in traffic congestion on a highway. Xilinx technology plays an important role in this. Because Xilinx automotive devices contain built-in capabilities that allow us to meet strict ASIL requirements, they are unquestionably the best technology to implement Subaru’s new ADAS vision system.”

Xilinx said it has shipped more than 190 million devices globally for automotive use, with 75 million used for production ADAS deployments. The company works with over 200 automotive companies, comprised of Tier 1s, OEMs, and startups. The Subaru win is through its latest tier 1 partner addition, Veoneer.

Vision-based ADAS
Xilinx has shipped 190 million devices for automotive use, with 75 million used for production ADAS deployments. The biggest area is the forward camera. (Image: Xilinx)

Lyons told EE Times that over the last four years, it has shipped on average 19.3 million units per year for automotive, with the forward camera being the largest market. “A growing area is the surround camera, and in-cabin monitoring is showing huge growth driven by legislation. With our various partnerships we have 50% market share in in-cabin monitoring.” He highlighted one example, with Daimler, through partner Seeing Machines, is using AI to predict in-cabin activity. “We are also seeing a lot of interest in imaging / 4D radar for high-end systems.”

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