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May 31st is National Autonomous Vehicle Day in the U.S. Autonomous driving cannot be accomplished with a lot of computing – which has to talk to all parts of the vehicle and rider. Tim Wong, Marketing Chair, Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium (AVCC) tells Auto Futures what the consortium is doing to standardise, improve and spur the computing of autonomous vehicles.

“Over 80% of our members are technology businesses. It is cool to see competitors in the same room collaborating, suggesting improvements. You can’t wish for anything better than that,” says Wong about AVCC events.

“There is a lot of good progress in autonomous vehicles. I live in the Bay Area and I see all kinds of vehicles being tested. We see it happening. In heavy traffic, it is fairly easy to make a car drive. It is simple to follow the car in front,” says Wong,

Computing is at the centre of autonomous vehicles. Autonomous cars cannot exist without computer power on board because autonomous cars require standalone autonomy. Therefore, a self-driving system that has to connect to the cloud is not an autonomous car, he says.

AVCC recently published two important papers. Paper one is about getting everybody to speak the same language it explains in a block format what is happening with the processes in the autonomous car, says Wong

TR-001 ‘Conceptual Architecture for Automated and Assisted Driving Systems’ is designed to align with the SAE International 1- 5 levels of driving automation. The paper is a guide to understanding assisted and automated driving compute system architectures and workflows. It is available on the AVCC website.

“In paper number two we look at the camera and make sure all the words used are the same. We need a crystal-clear image of camera processing,” he adds.

TR002, ‘Functional Guide to Image Signal Processing’ is a reference on industry practices and use cases for Image Signal Processing (ISP). It discusses the impacts of camera choices. It covers ISP terminology,

ISP modules in AV Perception block, ISP Latency, Camera types for different use cases, Camera input interface options, ISP Outputs ISP KPIs and ISP Industry Quality Standards.

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Standardising Benchmark Testing and Cybersecurity

AVCC is working on benchmarking standards (MicroBenchmarking, WT-003). It is not just speaking the same language but everything about the systems. They are developing quantitative testing for specific scenarios and functionality, says Wong.

“Because we are a consortium of Tier 1’s, OEMs and technology companies in the ecosystem, we all have to work together to make sure we are all at the same high level of security,” he says.

WT-004, a cybersecurity survey, is expected to be completed by the end of June. Another AVCC group ‘Software Composition’ is looking at software portability of AV applications across different AV compute hardware.

AVCC is primarily a tech-focused industry group and is not focused on public acceptance of autonomous vehicles. However, maybe experiences like riding in autonomous cars, seeing them on the street or even becoming more aware of them on Autonomous Vehicle Day will help to quell public fears.

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“I want to be the first person to buy an autonomous car.”

There seems to be public misconceptions and fear about autonomous vehicles. Wong suggests that getting used to autonomous vehicles is experiential.

The more people are exposed to autonomous vehicles, the more they will feel comfortable. For example, Wong says his wife did not really want a GPS and mapping system in her car, then after a while, she could not live without it.

Current members of AVCC include Arm, Bosch, Continental, DENSO, General Motors, NVIDIA, NXP Semiconductors, Toyota, Ansys, Brodmann17, Mazda, Nissan, RTI, Sandia National Laboratories, SEI ANTech Europe, Renesas, Synopsys, Veoneer, Xilinx and Zenseact. It aims to expand membership.

“We are here trying to improve autonomous vehicle systems for everyone. To do that, we welcome more members,” says Wong about AVCC.

For Autonomous Vehicle Day, Wong is riding in an autonomous car. He has spent many hours testing AVs.

Wong muses, “Autonomous driving does a very good job. With a 45-mile commute, I want to be the first person to buy an autonomous car.”

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