Toshiba (Japan) has launched the third generation of its Visconti dual-core processor. The chip comprises two Cortex A9 cores with additional floating-point units (FPU). It is intended for automotive and industrial applications.
THE VISCONTI3 PROCESSOR with the part number TMPV7528XBG has been designed for real-time image recognition. It provides three on-chip CAN modules to connect the chip to in-vehicle networks. The processor incorporates up to four image processors and several types of accelerators enabling camera-based systems in cars to more accurately recognize lanes, vehicles, traffic lights, signs and pedestrians in real time, both day and night. The Cortex A9 core includes an FPU that improves performance of image processing by handling the mathematical computations required to analyze large volumes of image data from the video source, frame-by-frame in real-time.
The FPUs also simplify optimization of the imaging algorithms, so software developers can reduce their overall design time and speed time to market. Samples of the chip are available in April 2013. Toshiba initially developed the Visconti1 series of image recognition processors to advance the creation of camera-based vision systems for automotive applications. The processors recognize traffic lanes, vehicles, pedestrians, traffic signs and more. The Visconti2 and the recently introduced Visconti3 series incorporate image processing accelerators that detect pedestrians with high-level detection ratio in real-time. With Visconti3, the Japanese chipmaker tries to expand the image recognition processor business beyond automotive systems into camera-based vision systems for industrial applications. The company targets annual sales of 2 million image recognition processors in fiscal 2015.
Autonomous braking requires image recognition
Advances continue in bringing driver assistance and safety systems to road vehicles. The next impetus will come in Europe, where the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP) requires carmakers to introduce autonomous braking systems next year. These will initially cover other vehicles, and will be extended to include pedestrians in 2016. Initiatives like this are expected to spur 50 % to 100 % growth in the global market for image recognition processors between fiscal 2010 and 2015, from 75 billion to 100 billion yen. Toshiba has played a pioneering role in image recognition processors, with introduction of the first Visconti chips in 2004, and the improved Visconti2 in 2011.