ISOLDE and RISC-V – a new smart changing the whole ecosystem of Automotive Industry

In a world where you have a casual conversation with your car and begin to wonder if it's already reading your mind, the automotive industry continues its intensive and ambitious collaboration with the RISC-V development community. Due to the high customizability, vehicle manufacturers can design, RISC-V is highly customizable, allowing manufacturers of vehicles to design processors tailored to their specific requirements. This adaptability is especially valuable when safety, performance, and power efficiency are critical properties. This new approach provides scalable end-to-end solutions, translating customers' needs into efficient and secure cross-domain platforms that allow for high re-use across carlines. It’s mandatory to all functional areas in the vehicle, from user experience in the cockpit, to an End-to-End vehicle network including the cloud, to automated driving and safety and motion functions.

Automotive RISC-V HPC architecture & ISOLDE challenge

As an integral component of the ISOLDE project, it’s a challenge for Continental Automotive to provide a high-performance computer architecture proposal versus actual existing VPU/GPU solutions. Currently incorporating the fully scalable “CV3” system-on-chip (SoC) family from semiconductor company Ambarella into our Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The powerful and energy efficient SoC solutions based on AI are tailored to assisted and automated driving applications and complement our portfolio. They offer more computing power, consume less energy, require less cooling and with this, save system costs.

Continental is collaborating with Infineon Technologies in the development of server-based vehicle architectures. The goal is an organized and efficient electrics/electronics (E/E) architecture with central high-performance computers (HPC) and a few, powerful Zone Control Units (ZCU) instead of up to a hundred or even more individual control units, as it was previously the case. Continental now uses Infineon’s AURIX TC4 microcontroller for its ZCU platform. Thanks to special storage technology in the AURIX TC4, the vehicle software is on standby. As soon as the vehicle is started, functions such as parking assistance, air conditioning, heating and suspension are ready within fractions of a second. With its platform approach, Continental is supporting the different requirements of the automobile manufacturers. By individually configuring the number of HPCs and ZCUs, how they interact and how they are arranged in the vehicle, automobile manufacturers can individually tailor their architecture to their needs.