NVIDIA Jumps Into the Market for Smart Car CPUs with the Tegra K1

On January 6, 2014, the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada in the U.S., NVIDIA announced the Tegra K1. This “mobile processor” ” . . . is powered by the 192-core NVIDIA Kepler GPU.”

The press release on the NVIDIA site makes no mention of automotive applications of the Tegra K1 technology beyond simply the term “mobile processor”. But a white paper, titled NVIDIA K1 A New Era in Mobile Computing clearly presents this chip as a important option for automotive designers who need to add cutting edge ” . . . navigation, infotainment, and driver assist systems . . . ” to new vehicles. The chip can also provide considerable processing power to some of the most pressing design requirements for “driverless cars”. These will likely include ” . . . gesture and object recognition, motion tracking, computational photography, and augmented reality.”

The chip is also a powerhouse capable of delivering high end “gamer quality” graphics to small mobile devices — smart phones and tablets. Elevating the quality of gaming experience for average users is likely to be an avenue tablet OEMs will want to explore as they search for new “value packed” features to drive higher prices for these devices.

Kiernan Ray of Barrons published an article on Sunday, January 5, 2014, titled Nvidia Announces ‘Tegra K1′ 192-Core Processor with 64-Bit ‘Denver’ Option. This article provides a lot of additional detail on the Tegra K1 announcement, including a lot of quotes from NVIDIA CEO JEN-Hsun Huang’s speech about the new chip at CES. Mr. Huang is quoted as highlighting the features of the Tegra K1, which he claims are capable of supporting the “‘first programmable platform for advanced driver assist'” (quoted from Tiernan Ray’s article) for smart cars.

The chip will be available in 2 different pin set configurations. Per Tiernan Ray, one of these configurations is ” . . . the world’s first demonstration of 64-bit v8 ARM on Android”. The other configuration will support NVIDIA’s own “Denver” 64-bit CPU.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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