Arm’s Hand-Holding

Arm announces the Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium

Autonomous driving has had its highs and lows and it’s still far from anything consumers use on a regular basis. Developing autonomous vehicles is a matter of developing a major ecosystem, perhaps the largest ever — not something that any single company can accomplish on its own. This will require cross-industry collaboration as well as leadership from governments.

Here’s one step in that direction. Last week at the its TechCon 2019 event in San Jose, Arm announced the Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium (AVCC), with the main objective of accelerating the delivery of safe and affordable autonomous vehicles.

Arm, the supplier of the underlying technology for processors used in a variety of smart devices, is a founding member of the consortium. In addition to Arm, the consortium includes Bosch, Continental, Denso, General Motors, Nvidia, NXP Semiconductors and Toyota — a mix of leading car-makers, chip companies and suppliers in the automotive industry.

Each company will bring different expertise to the development of autonomous driving. For example, Bosch will develop recommendations for software interfaces for autonomous systems; Nvidia will contribute in artificial intelligence computing platforms. General Motors has invested heavily in autonomous vehicle development, especially through its Cruise unit. Toyota has also started to form alliances for self-driving vehicle testing, such as with

The AVCC is cognizant of the technological complexities and obstacles that need to be overcome for the deployment of autonomous vehicles. But the group has a shared goal with its first objective to define a reference architecture and platform to meet the performance goals of autonomous driving. The consortium will collaborate on elements such as safety, security, computing and software. It also plans to develop requirements for software APIs for building blocks in an autonomous vehicle.

Less clear is how the AVCC will (or won’t) work with other major industry initiatives in autonomous vehicles such as the Baidu-led Apollo consortium, which has several of the same members as AVCC, including Bosch, Continental, Nvidia, NXP Semiconductors and Toyota.

Arm says it is tackling broad societal challenges such as saving lives of drivers, passengers and pedestrians, improving personal mobility, and creating more sustainable cities.

The autonomous vehicle industry has seen intense investment and focus over the past few years from tech companies as well as the automotive industry. It seems we’re still very close to the beginning of what could be a megatrend affecting billions around the world and altering economies.