ETRI Develops South Korean Processor for Self-Driving Cars

Dec 02, 2016

A research team in South Korea has developed high-performance processors for self-driving cars that have high electric efficiency and safety. It is expected that these processors will bring huge changes to South Korean markets for CPUs that have been depending on foreign processors.
ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, Director Lee Sang-hoon) made an announcement on the 1st that it has succeeded in developing GHz-level processors for cars that perform functions for self-driving cars with about 1W of electricity.
‘Aldebaran’ processor that was developed by ETRI checks 99% of breakdowns of electronic devices such as sudden unintended acceleration and solves them. It is designed so that its core and memory verify all processes that happen during driving and correct any breakdowns. This function has become world’s first function to satisfy ISO’s (The International Organization for Standardization) functional safety. It is an innovative semiconductor technology that self-checks any breakdowns of chips that are installed inside of processors.
Aldebaran is manufactured as a quad-core processor, which is built by ETRI’s own technology. It has 4 processors and performs complicated functions of self-driving technology.
Especially its energy efficiency is 100 times better compared to foreign processors that are at same level as Aldebaran processor. While other processors consume hundreds of watts for their power, Aldebaran only requires 0.24W for 1GHz worth of movement. Even when all of its 4 processors operate at the same time, it consumes less than 1W of electricity. Overall output of a car decreases when there is too much electricity consumption and chances of errors increase due to heat increase.

Demonstration of ETRI’s Aldebaran Processor recognizing cars and lanes
<Demonstration of ETRI’s Aldebaran Processor recognizing cars and lanes >

Aldebaran chip’s size is only 7x8mm and one can manufacture ECU boards with a size of about 10cm if it packages Aldebaran chip. This is a size that can be easily installed inside of a car.
ETRI is predicting that its Aldebaran technology can also be used for all electronics such as robots and electronic products that have semiconductors.
ETRI is planning to add nerve network core AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology and develop one chip data processing technology.
ETRI is going to start commercializing its technology in 2017 and it already transferred its technology to 5 businesses. It is planning to mass-produce ‘Aldebaran’ processors through an automotive semiconductor manufacturer called NextChip at the end of 2017.
ETRI has developed Aldebaran chip technology with NextChip and Unmanned Solution and manufactured it with Samsung Electronics.
“Many companies are showing interests in securing related technologies as a global processor manufacturer called Arm was recently bought out by Japan’s SoftBank.” said Director Uhm Nak-woong of ETRI ICT Materials and Components Research Institute. “We are going to launch South Korea’s semiconductor industry as an intelligent semiconductor industry with high performance by developing and enhancing Aldebaran technology.”
Staff Reporter Kim, Youngjun | kyj85@etnews.com

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