Year after year, the world’s biggest technology brands gather to showcase their new products and innovative technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Products highlighted span across TVs, cars, wearables, smart home tech, and more.
CES has evolved over recent years and has become a major conference for news in the automotive industry as the car is becoming the most sophisticated technology platform. “The automotive business is going through one of the largest and most significant transformations faster than it ever has,” said Dipti Vachani, Arm’s GM & SVP of Automotive. “Whether it’s the rapid conversion to electrical drivetrains, the rise of driver assistance features, or the reinvention of what owners expect from their car and the features and applications they use in the vehicle, the automotive industry is fundamentally reinventing itself.”
From a technologist’s perspective, this all translates into a huge rise in software and the technology that underpins this software. This has led to the widely coined industry term, the software-defined vehicle (SDV). This foundational technology is built on semiconductors – with carmakers looking to deliver new driver experiences, harness the power of AI, and extend their relationship with consumers through software-defined features. A high-end vehicle today can already contain over 100 million lines of code. This requires the high performance, power efficient, scalable, flexible, and safe compute foundations that Arm delivers.
Arm licenses leading-edge foundational technology and designs CPU products and related technologies that the world’s leading semiconductor companies and automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) rely on to develop their products. Arm delivers the scalable, safety-enabled specialized compute needed to address the range of processing capabilities required for automotive within the thermal constraints of the vehicle, which is critical as vehicles continue to scale. “With enhanced auto capabilities you will need the lowest power possible, and that's where Arm comes into play. With our legacy in mobile phones, Arm has fine-tuned the art of creating maximum performance for the lowest power,” said Vachani.
-Dipti Vachani, Arm SVP of Automotive
CES Runs on Arm
Arm estimates that 70% of the global population uses products with its technology. Its designs are the building blocks that power a host of devices, applications, and services across global markets from the smallest sensor to 99% of smartphones and the supercomputer. Arm sits at the heart of an ecosystem of over 1,000 technology partners, many of whom are at CES showcasing incredible innovation. So, when you explore the latest technology releases at CES, the likelihood is, these are built on Arm. “You could say CES runs on Arm”, says Vachani, “Arm is the world’s most pervasive computing company – we are working with the biggest technology companies in the world to build the future of computing, and CES is one of the annual forums where the industry gathers and looks at not only what the industry is achieving and delivering today, but what is next for technology.”
With CES becoming the leading showcase for automotive innovation, you will find Arm technology across the entire show floor. “This year, you will see a cloud-to-vehicle application demo by AWS based on Arm. At the AWS booth you can see how we enable a seamless connection between the cloud and the car so the software can be deployed in real-time,“ stated Vachani. Additional automotive applications, silicon, and software development platforms are also demonstrated by Panasonic, Continental, and Tata Motors as well as Blackberry QNX, NXP, Renesas, and STMicroelectronics. But one cannot talk about the latest technology showcase, without talking about AI.
AI will take center stage at CES. The huge uptick in conversations around the impact of AI across various industries has led to discussions around what role it will play in the future of car automation. Arm has been a long-time player in the AI space. Seventy percent of machine learning workloads are already running on Arm technology. “Where there is AI, there is Arm”, highlights Vachani. Arm is working with leading companies such as Alphabet, Mercedes-Benz, Meta, and NVIDIA to deploy Arm technology to run AI workloads. In areas of intense compute power like large language models (LLMs), generative AI, and autonomous driving, there will be a heightened emphasis on the low power acceleration of these algorithms, which is Arm’s focus.
More computing is necessary to do all the data work that is required for AI to be successful. That is one aspect of where Arm sits in AI. “Automotive is about more autonomy and more safety. We add more autonomous and safety features in cars today. These capabilities are driven by AI using Arm’s compute foundations and various levels of heterogeneous computing in graphic processing units and image processing units,” said Vachani. Currently, a lot of AI training with LLMs happens in the cloud but in the long term, a lot of AI will move to the edge. As a result, the majority of AI in the future needs to move closer to the edge to allow AI to scale everywhere – and this will be happening on Arm. AI is becoming central to the future of vehicles. AI is at the heart of ADAS and autonomous applications which will be bringing more safety and driver assistance functions over the coming years. AI will also be used to improve the in-vehicle experience enabling more advanced voice assistance and intelligent virtual assistance functions. This year’s CES will be a great showcase for new use cases for AI in the automotive industry.
The Need For More Advanced Semiconductors for the Software-Defined Vehicle
The semiconductor industry is going through a transformation as the cost and complexity of chips continue to rise, at an unprecedented rate. The semiconductor shortage during the pandemic has highlighted how critical computing is for the automotive industry. Chip manufacturing cycle times are getting longer yet customers need to deliver their products at an unrelenting pace. Arm is uniquely positioned to address this challenge and has unique insights into the capabilities and foundational technologies that its partners need both now, and in the future. This enables Arm to work closely with the ecosystem to ensure their roadmap of products will continue to meet their requirements.
“Automotive is a critical growth market for Arm, and I lead our automotive line of business – that means I get to spend my time learning about the needs and future vision of partners across the automotive supply chain from silicon providers to tier 1 suppliers and OEMs, and working with my team to ensure Arm’s platforms and solutions continue to deliver the foundational capabilities they need,” states Vachani.
These close collaborations with OEMs enable Arm to understand what the biggest automotive challenges are, and where the market is going. One of the biggest challenges in the automotive market is the explosion of software. The challenge is how to manage the software to ensure it is perfect to go out on the road but also stays up to date in the future.
Arm worked alongside automotive industry leaders to create an initiative called “SOAFEE,” the Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge. SOAFEE has over one hundred members across the industry to date, bringing together car OEMs, silicon vendors, and software vendors to look at how to solve the problem and seek opportunities in the explosion of software. “That makes us privy to where the world and the market are going 5 to 10 years from now. So, very exciting times,” said Dipti Vachani.
It’s expected that fully autonomous vehicles will have up to a billion lines of code. A high-performance compute platform is required as well as a shift in car compute architecture models to support the sophisticated vehicle software of future electric and ADAS-powered vehicles.
“And building on that, car OEMs can rely on the unrivaled software ecosystem built on decades of investment, so carmakers can innovate faster and get to market quickly. It couldn’t be a more exciting time to be in this market – the architecture of vehicles is being re-thought, and the technology capabilities we’re seeing emerge in this era of AI are fundamentally changing how both existing and new players bring products to market – and a huge amount of that is being built on Arm,” stated Vachani.