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In the not-too-distant future, major city centers might operate fleets of autonomous vehicles to transport residents from point A to point B. People would have less need for car ownership, traffic congestion could decrease substantially, and cities could free up space now occupied by parking spots.
Political and social obstacles aside, could this kind of world happen?
We’re already seeing technology, along with mission-critical applications, that would make this possible. These developments are a big part of why there was an air of optimism for the semiconductor industry at this year’s CDNLive Silicon Valley developer conference.
Growth in areas like automotive, social, mobility, the Internet of Things (IoT), and security are not only driving big opportunities for the semiconductor industry, but they are also making a holistic approach to electronic design an essential one. “It’s a lot more intelligent now—all of these devices are getting better and are connecting us better,” said Cadence President and CEO Lip-Bu Tan during his April 5 CDNLive keynote at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
In his opening talk, Tan laid the groundwork for Cadence’s system design enablement strategy. “From Cadence’s point of view, a unified way to approach system design enablement is very important,” he said. “Have a holistic way to look at the chip, the IP, the PC board, the entire system integration…”
New technologies as well as collaboration with partners, foundries, and customers are important for implementing a dependable system design enablement methodology, said Tan. To that end, he brought to the stage Sanjay Jha, CEO of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, to discuss what he believes is an “incredible future” ahead for the industry.
During his talk, Jha painted a picture of the self-driving vehicle fleet. He noted that the 250 million cars in the U.S. are used about 7% of the time. If we had “perfect efficiency” in the country, we could reduce the number of cars by at least 80%. “What we do with square kilometers of silicon required in autonomous vehicles can change our lives profoundly,” Jha said.
The vast opportunity that this scenario presents lies not only in the sensors and cameras that self-driving cars will need, but also in the analytical systems that enable vehicles to quickly process and understand the large volumes of data collected. For every self-driving car, there’s an array of other mission-critical systems with software and hardware components that must be co-designed and thoroughly verified to ensure safety and even save lives. Electronic design and verification tools are essential to every aspect of creating these products.
Tan highlighted how some key Cadence technologies support system design enablement:
From autonomous cars to IoT applications to the impending 5G standard, the future for semiconductors is, indeed, “incredible,” as Jha noted.