A new European research initiative to develop high-performance, energy-efficient embedded systems for image-processing applications has implications for next-generation automotive ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems).
The TULIPP (Towards Ubiquitous Low-power Image Processing Platforms) research consortium aims to develop by 2018 a reference platform for vision-based system designers. The platform will incorporate guidelines that define various hardware and software parameters including power efficiency, with the goal of reducing development time and cost.
The guidelines will be used to develop a scalable low-power board designed to meet typical embedded-systems requirements of size, weight and power (SWaP), a low-power operating system and image processing libraries, and an energy-aware tool chain. One goal is to help software designers deal more easily with parallel programming issues presented by multicore devices, as well as the heterogeneity of different programming models and application program interfaces (APIs).
In addition, TULIPP will develop three use-case demonstrators as proof-of-concept and validation of the reference platform. The use cases will cover the emerging complex image processing requirements of various industry sectors including automotive, aerospace and medical. One use case involves a "smart" automotive embedded vision system for automotive ADAS that, in addition to the low-level image processing, will intelligently interpret what is on the images to deliver safer driving experiences.
“Image processing applications stretch across an increasingly broad range of industrial domains and are reaching a higher level of complexity than ever before,” said Philippe Millet of Thales and TULIPP project coordinator. “The TULIPP reference platform will give rise to significant advances in system integration, processing innovation and idle power management to cope with the challenges this presents in increasingly complex vision-based systems.”
When the project concludes in 2018, TULIPP expects its work to extend the peak performance-per-watt of image processing applications by 4x and average performance-per-watt by 10x. Beyond the official completion, it is expected that this will be extended to 100x and 200x by 2023. TULIPP is being funded with nearly €4 million from Horizon 2020, the EU's biggest research program. The organization has nearly €80 billion in funding available from 2014 to 2020 for bringing science and technology innovations to market.
TULIPP plans to work closely with various standards organizations to propose the formal adoption, on an industry-wide basis, of new standards derived from its reference platform.
The TULIPP consortium members represent both industry and academia. Along with project lead and coordinator Thales, the members include Efficient Innovation SAS, Fraunhofer IOSB, Hipperos, Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Sundance Multiprocessor Technology, and Synective Labs.