Autonomous Vehicle Design Begins To Change Direction
By Ann Steffora-Mutschler, Semiconductor Engineering
Tools that are commonly used in semiconductor design are starting to be applied at the system level for assisted and autonomous vehicles, setting the stage for more complex simulated scenarios and electronic system design. Simulation is well understood for designing automotive ICs, but now it also is being used to design vehicle architectures and sensors, as well as for sensor miniaturization and for integration within a vehicle. So instead of just simulating chips, these tools are being used for modeling dynamic behavior and possible interactions of vehicles, which is much faster and more efficient than driving billions of miles to find the corner cases.
“High-level scenario modeling using ESL or portable stimulus is valuable, but it is unlikely that these techniques will exercise deep corner cases within the sensor processing logic,” said Vladislav Palfy, director application engineering at OneSpin Solutions. “Formal verification is ideal for hitting corner-case conditions and detecting any associated bugs. Multi-sensor systems are inherently complex, with many possible combinations of data, making it impossible for simulation to iterate through all the combinations. Only the exhaustive power of formal verification can do the job completely and efficiently. Finally, safety verification is required where a random error in the field could cause an incorrect result of consequence, such as a proximity sensor with a false reading leading to a dangerous and unnecessary evasive maneuver. Again, formal verification should be the tool of choice.”