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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Hardware virtualised GPU core for automotive infotainment designs

By Nick Flaherty

Despite all the upheaval around its ownership, Imagination Technologies has launched a new high performance GPU core that supports the multiple, ultra-high resolution displays for cluster, Head-Up Display (HUD) and infotainment. 

The Furian GPU architecture provides an 80% higher fill rate density than the previous generation, allowing the four-cluster PowerVR Series8XT GT8540 GPU to simultaneously drive up to six 4K screens with complex UIs at 60fps.

The PowerVR graphics technology now represents the core of Imagination's business so it is good to see continuing technology development.

The hardware virtualisation can provide a complete separation of services and applications, ensuring they remain secure against system intrusion or data corruption. The platform can support up to eight applications or services running in separate containers at once and automotive OEMs can deploy and remove services at will without affecting others running at the same time.

As more in-car infotainment systems move towards richer operating systems such as Android and CarPlay (despite Imagination's very public falling out with Apple), the importance of a GPU capable of full hardware virtualisation to contain rogue apps is of increasing importance. Allowing a rich graphical environment for the infotainment system while protecting the dashboard and other critical displays will be unaffected by malware enables higher levels of system integration, reducing costs, whilst maintaining the safety critical requirements of the design.

The Series8XT GT8540 can support long-running compute workloads on a single Shader Processing Unit (SPU) for ADAS functions such as lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, and surround view, amongst others. Other tasks, such as infotainment and cluster, can run on the second SPU, using prioritising mechanisms to reach system performance targets.

“With the PowerVR Series8XT GT8540 Imagination Technologies continues to prove that it is a leader in the automotive space," said Dominique Bonte, Managing Director and Vice President, ABI Research. "As the automotive industry moves closer to introducing Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles, powerful GPUs will be vital to power multiple high-resolution display. With distraction concerns removed in driverless cars, additional opportunities for advanced infotainment features including 5G-based 4K video streaming will emerge in the longer term. Imagination is in a strong position to support this progression. The ability to run multiple workloads over each SPU is a potential game changer for the automotive industry.”

“PowerVR has a strong roadmap and this is reflected in the great success seen with the XT family and its selection by leading automotive players, such as Texas Instruments. We’re now targeting new markets with the rich features, such as safety and security through virtualisation,” said Graham Deacon, Vice President PowerVR Marketing, Imagination Technologies.

The PowerVR Series 8XT GT8540 is now ready for licensing. The PowerVR two-cluster Series8XT GT8525 has customers in segments including automotive and mobile.

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