ARM has unveiled a specialised image processing chip, the Mali-C71, for autonomous vehicles. It is designed to quickly process and analyze images from automotive cameras under the most extreme conditions such as challenging lighting and weather conditions, and enable ADAS applications like mirror replacement, driver drowsiness detection and pedestrian protection systems.
To offer the highest possible levels of clarity and reliability for ADAS applications, the Mali-C71 offers ultra-wide dynamic range (UWDR) up to 24 stops. In some cases, it can provide detail beyond what the human eye can see, according to the firm. The best DSLR camera can achieve around 15 stops of dynamic range.
As cars go increasingly autonomous, the number of cameras per vehicle is increasing to help drivers get a better view of the vehicle’s interiors and exteriors and make driving decisions. Most high end mass market vehicles are expected to contain up to twelve cameras within the next few years, according to Strategy Analytics. Processing of these raw camera pixels for displays as well as for further processing by computer vision algorithms requires a specialised ADAS chip.
The Mali-C71 removes noise and processes the multiple exposures from the camera, creates an ultra-WDR frame and sends it across to a display or a computer vision engine.
The new chip is said to bring low latency and advanced error detection with more than 300 dedicated fault detection circuits to enable system-level certification to the highest standards (ISO26262, ASIL D and IEC 61508, SIL3).
ARM said that the ISP is also able to use one hardware IP to provide two differently processed image outputs simultaneously – one to be rendered on a display and the data for use by the computer vision engine. The chip offers high quality output for display which is necessary for drivers to quickly make correct choices. Simultaneously, reliable data is offered for computer vision engines to make safe decisions when the car is in control.
“OmniVision has been closely collaborating with the ARM ISP team (formerly Apical) for several years now, and see the Mali-C71 as an important advancement in image signal processing for emerging automotive applications. ARM’s expertise in ISP technology together with OmniVision’s best-in-class HDR image sensor technologies offers an industry leading solution for our automotive customers.”
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