Changing the rules of the game: Meet two emerging automotive applications only possible with Xilinx FPGA-based SoCs!

04-22-2019 07:54 AM

By Willard Tu, Xilinx Senior Director, Automotive

Last June, I wrote about five of the benefits that Xilinx FPGA technology is bringing to the automotive market. At that time, I offered up a “teaser” that there were two powerful new automotive applications that Xilinx was enabling…features that were only possible because of Xilinx adaptable, intelligent FPGA technology.

Today, I’m putting an end to the mystery: these functions are Dynamic Function eXchange (also called DFX) and Over-the-Air (OTA) Silicon. And here’s a brief explanation of their capabilities and powerful benefits.

Dynamic Function eXchange (DFX): Imagine being able to reconfigure some of the programmable logic on a Xilinx system-on-chip (SoC) device so that it can handle multiple, mutually exclusive functions. This is now possible, and it’s a uniquely efficient and cost-effective way to maximize silicon real estate.

Here’s an example: Prior to vehicle startup, the Xilinx system on a chip (SoC) powers pre-drive security functions, such as perimeter monitoring, virtual keypad and biometric identification. Once my vehicle is started, the SoC enables the surround-view cameras for assisting in maneuvering the car out of a parking space. Then, once I’m on the highway, the chip switches gears to go into forward-camera mode for lane-keeping assist, etc. as well as driver-monitoring mode to ensure I don’t nod off on my way home.


Over-the-Air (OTA) Silicon: By now we’re all familiar with OTA software updates. Tesla has led the way, but other carmakers including BMW and Mercedes are following. With Xilinx’s OTA Silicon, carmakers can update their hardware, as well! This capability makes it possible for carmakers to ensure their vehicles comply with the latest regulations and are compatible with the newest technologies. At the rate the automotive landscape is evolving, this is more important than ever. The types of updates possible range from new security patches to machine-learning models to additional features.

As automotive technology, consumer preferences and industry/government regulations evolve at breakneck speeds, carmakers are looking for ways to ensure their vehicles will be relevant and compliant as they journey from the design studio to factory floor to city streets. Xilinx’s DFX and OTA Silicon are two significant ways they are making this happen.