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It’s 2048 and the world could be bursting with nine billion people. What will the West Antarctic ice sheet look like then? By how much will sea levels have risen?
As the northern hemisphere—where most people live—continues to warm up, there could be some alarming ramifications. “We’re going to have to rely on technology…and change to a more sustainable world,” says Jim Hogan in a March 31 talk at Cadence’s San Jose headquarters. Hogan has worked in the semiconductor design and manufacturing industry for more than 40 years, serving as a senior executive and board director in EDA, IP, semiconductor equipment, material science, and IT companies.
In his talk to Cadence employees, Hogan traced the path of people on this earth, from the hunter-gatherer era to the agrarian and industrial eras. Now, the impact of fossil fuels and rising carbon emissions is pushing us to an era of sustainability.
Industry expert Jim Hogan addresses a Cadence employee audience on "Preparing for Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities, Barriers, and Policy Recommendations."
“I think our responsibility as technologists is to try to improve people’s lives,” Hogan said. “Autonomous cars are, by and large, going to be electric cars. And if we can see productivity in food production, we can probably see less of the social effects” from food scarcity.
All of the capabilities we’ve created in the world come at a cost. As an example, Hogan pointed to China, where extreme levels of air pollution threaten to choke the nation’s economy. This cost, he indicated, could be mitigated with sustainable technologies, like autonomous cars.
Karl Benz invented the first gasoline-powered automobile in 1886. In 1958, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore invented ICs. The first significant automotive electronic systems, beyond simple transistors, involved hardware and software used to control engine functions. By 1981, engine control units were produced to meet Clean Air Act requirements. In the mid-2000s, we began to see adaptive controls in cars, like collision-avoidance systems. Today, Hogan, noted, his Mercedes-Benz boasts 12 cameras providing a visual image of the vehicle’s surroundings, a 9-inch monitor on the dashboard, and programmable warning systems. “The thing’s incredible—it can park itself, it avoids things,” said Hogan. “It’s not going to be long before the government requires every car marketed in America to have these collision-avoidance systems.”
By 2030, Hogan predicts, we could see totally autonomous cars on the road. This makes Silicon Valley, where major car manufacturers have dotted the landscape with R&D centers, a particularly exciting place to be. “Systems-level design is happening here, system verification of these things is increasing,” Hogan noted. “It’s a fortuitous opportunity for EDA companies in the verification business.”
All-electric vehicles like Teslas are updated nightly via software and are also constantly gathering data and learning from it (Who lined up for a chance to reserve the Tesla Model 3?) Last May, Daimler unveiled its prototype 18-wheeler “Inspiration Truck,” the world’s first self-driving truck licensed for road tests in Nevada. Innovations such as this could someday help curb long-haul fatigue among truck drivers.
As one Ford executive famously noted last year, there are more lines of code in a Ford Fusion than in a Boeing 777. Back in the day, Boeing employed more than 10,000 engineers to design and verify the 777, noted Hogan. Today, the market for automotive ICs is booming. Globally, the market for automotive electronics is expected to grow to $240B by 2020, up from $157B in 2010, according to IMS Research.
To fuel this market, designers need to select IP pre-qualified and verified for functionality, performance, cost, quality, reliability, and safety. Over time, Hogan noted, the design processes themselves might become more automated to reduce human error.
Mission-critical applications are challenging those of us in the industry to build solutions, said Hogan. Government further challenges us via regulatory compliance measures. But overall, he said, it’s better for the industry to self-regulate. From a verification standpoint, safety and reliability must come first.
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