What kind of autonomous driving chips do we need in the next decade? | Exclusive Interview with Ten Chinese Autonomous Drivers


Release time:

2023-02-16

Realizing autonomous driving is like climbing Mount Everest. There are at least two routes to choose from on the road we want to walk, the south slope and the north slope, and there will always be pioneers and latecomers. Although there is only one mountain top, the experiences of the climbers and the stories during the climbing process often emerge in endlessly, which are fascinating and fascinating.

What kind of autonomous driving chips do we need in the next decade? | Exclusive Interview with Ten Chinese Autonomous Drivers

Realizing autonomous driving is like climbing Mount Everest. There are at least two routes to choose from on the road we want to walk, the south slope and the north slope, and there will always be pioneers and latecomers. Although there is only one mountain top, the experiences of the climbers and the stories during the climbing process often emerge in endlessly, which are fascinating and fascinating.

Looking at the history of the past ten years, we have found that there are constantly innovators who have bravely climbed the peak of autonomous driving, and are working hard to reach the top. Therefore, 36 Krypton decided to select 10 high-quality representatives in the field of autonomous driving in China - among them are the leaders of giant companies like Baidu and Huawei, as well as the helmsmen of many start-up companies with a spirit of transformation, and there are countless people who have devoted themselves to research. scholar scientist. We gathered exclusive news, exclusive interviews, dialogue reviews, etc. in the topic selection column of "Ten People in China's Autonomous Driving". 

We hope that through this topic selection, we will present the current domestic development of autonomous driving technology to the industry, and share the applications and breakthroughs in each segment of autonomous driving.

Looking back at the past ten years, the autonomous driving revolution has swept the world, and the "new four modernizations" of automobiles have become the era symbol of the fourth industrial revolution. Domestically-produced cars, which have followed suit in the fuel age, have also become leading players in the new energy era. 

2016 is the starting point for the autonomous driving industry to take off. 

In 2016, Google's autonomous driving department officially became independent and became the world-renowned Waymo in the future. This year, Tesla, the "whistleblower" who has changed the car for a century, produced a total of 83,900 new cars, a year-on-year surge of 64%. Nvidia released the second-generation autonomous driving platform Drive PX2, and Mobileye is about to launch the fifth-generation product. The giant ship of the times is vigorously sailing towards a new future. 

This year, Liu Weihong resigned from the enviable position of president of the Asia-Pacific region of Bosch's chassis brake division, and together with his long-time friend Shan Jizhang, established a self-driving chip company: Black Sesame Smart .

2023: The year of mass production

The industrial revolution of autonomous driving is a full-cycle and full-industrial chain transformation involving from chips to chassis, from hardware to software, and from OEMs to suppliers. 

Chips are the cornerstone of this technological revolution. 

Although the global autopilot chip market has been booming in recent years, the technology threshold, market threshold, and capital threshold of this track are high, and there are very few companies that actually produce energy. 

Black Sesame Smart is one of them. 

Why is it so difficult for autonomous driving chips to land? As the former president of the Asia-Pacific region of the Bosch Chassis Brake Division and an expert in the automotive supply chain, Liu Weihong summarized the following points to 36 Krypton: 

1. The threshold of the industry is high, and the landing cycle is long

汽车行业的特殊性使得这一产业的供应链门槛极高。芯片公司的产品不仅需要符合严苛的产品一致性、产品质量控制标准,还需要保证至少10~15年的供货周期。 

而在芯片公司与车企、Tier 1、Tier 2供应商的合作过程中,又涉及大量的测试、沟通、打磨、反馈、修改过程,产品落地周期极长,难度巨大。 

这也导致大量芯片创业公司的产品迟迟难以落地。 

黑芝麻智能算是个例外。 

就在不久前的12月底,黑芝麻智能刚刚宣布与三一专用汽车有限责任公司达成平台级战略合作,成为三一专汽首家本土车规级高性能自动驾驶芯片供应商。 

而2023年——也就是今年——搭载华山二号A1000芯片的三一专汽商用车即将量产。 

这是黑芝麻智能继江汽集团、东风集团、中国一汽、博世、上汽通用五菱、吉咖智能、东风悦享等合作伙伴之后的又一落地项目。 

刘卫红告诉36氪,去年,黑芝麻智能完成了超过15个项目的量产定点,比如,黑芝麻智能与江汽集团达成战略合作,多款思皓品牌量产车型将搭载华山二号A1000芯片;东风集团则更是不仅将在旗下东风乘用车首款纯电轿车和首款纯电SUV上搭载华山二号A1000,还通过旗下东风资产管理对黑芝麻智能进行了战略投资,持续深度合作。 

步入2020年以来,各大芯片创业公司都明显加快了落地步伐。这其中既有技术与产品的发展,也有资本竞争的紧迫,然而更重要的是,随着自动驾驶产业的进一步成熟,大算力自动驾驶芯片已经成为了车企共识的“刚需”。这是一个确定的发展方向。 

2023年,将是国产自动驾驶芯片量产落地的关键年份。 

2、技术革新快,产品复杂性强

作为人工智能技术的一个特殊应用,自动驾驶所需要的芯片,固然需要算力强大,但绝不仅仅是AI计算单元的简单堆叠。 

芯片企业需要具备同样强大的研发能力,才能拥有足以匹配当今迅速发展迭代的自动驾驶技术。 

当前,国内自动驾驶市场较为公认的观点是,L5级别的“无人驾驶”无论是在法律法规还是应用落地方面,都存在着大量短期内难以克服的挑战。 

然而,L2-L3级别的智能驾驶、辅助驾驶却迎来了高速的创新与迭代周期,产品飞速落地。 

举个例子,行泊一体是近两年来最火的辅助驾驶技术之一。根据高工智能汽车研究院预测,从2023年开始,新车行泊一体前装搭载率将快速上升,这一数据到2025年将超过40%,未来三年市场空间将高达1000万辆。 

市场风向的变化,最先触到水温的是供应链。近两年间,自动驾驶方案商、车企、Tier-1供应商、域控制器厂商、芯片厂商,产业各个环节都在加紧研发,迅速推出产品。 

密集的产业热度,正是技术创新的土壤。 

去年,黑芝麻智能推出了基于华山二号A1000芯片打造的Drive Sensing解决方案。刘卫红告诉36氪,这是业界唯一可量产的、搭载单SoC芯片的高阶行泊一体方案,它支持L2++行车领航NOA、泊车HPA/AVP、3D 360环视全景、多路DVR众多功能,能够将智能驾驶的行车和泊车从两套单独的系统整合为一套,降低成本、减轻重量、提高性能。 

与市场上其他的双芯片或三芯片方案相比,“单芯片”成为了这一方案的关键词。 

单芯片方案,意味着更加深度的软硬件融合,需要将行车与泊车所涉及的所有传感器信号接入到一块SoC芯片为主的域控制器上,配合专用的软件算法,并兼顾性能、功能、可靠性、成本等综合考量,才能最终实现传感器与计算资源的深度复用,难度极大。 

但与之相对应的,单芯片方案的优势也显而易见。 

刘卫红告诉36氪,作为业界唯一可量产搭载单SoC芯片的高阶行泊一体方案,黑芝麻智能的Drive Sensing解决方案除了在性能、成本等方面拥有优势之外,还将极大地降低行泊一体算法与产品的研发复杂度,提高开发效率,简化开发周期,并提供更强的稳定性,高度适配行泊一体方案的需求。 

3、安全要求高

安全认证是汽车供应链老生常谈的话题了,却也是所有创业公司绕不过去的大山。汽车零部件,尤其是最底层的汽车芯片,其产品安全等级的要求高得惊人。 

目前,全球汽车产业主要依靠国际汽车电子协会(Automotive Electronics Council,既AEC)作为车规验证标准。而AEC-Q系列认证,则是公认的全球车规元器件通用测试标准。 

车规级芯片对环境要求、抗振动冲击、可靠性、一致性等要求极为严苛,任何芯片公司想打进汽车供应链,都必须拥有AEC-Q100可靠性认证与ISO系列供应链质量管理标准,才拥有了被客户纳入考量范围的可能性。 

此外,还有各类功能安全团队认证、产品认证、流程认证、ASPICE(Automotive Software Process Improvement and Capacity Determination)等一系列繁杂而又必要的安全认证。 

行业巨头有着多年的经验,证照齐全,可创业公司需要一件一件地“啃”下来,难度大、周期长、而且需要深度产业Know-how。 

毫无疑问,自动驾驶芯片行业门槛高,落地难度大,但同时市场需求量大,前景广阔。近年间,技术进步与市场教育的发展,使得我国自动驾驶、尤其是辅助驾驶产业发展十分迅猛。2023年,我们将会迎来自动驾驶芯片的量产落地之年。

未来十年,我们需要什么样的自动驾驶芯片?

在“新四化”的年代,汽车正从功能汽车逐步走向智能汽车。除了自动驾驶外,整个汽车供应链的芯片、底盘、电气架构都迎来了全面改革。汽车产业竞争的抓手已经从汽车制造变成了新四化年代的核心技术。 

而这也是为什么,过去专注于精益生产,对芯片供应并不敏感的车企们,在自动驾驶革命的今天,不断地主动触达芯片厂,甚至愿意成为国产芯片创业公司的Alpha客户,一同推动产业变革。 

当前,无论是自动驾驶技术,还是芯片半导体技术,依旧处在不断重新定义、不断发展迭代的过程中。 

You know, ten years ago, deep learning algorithms had just emerged in academia; five years ago, the peak computing power of the strongest autonomous driving chip was only 32 TOPS. But now, the industry has long since changed. 

Regarding the future development direction of autonomous driving chips, Liu Weihong gave his answer to 36 Krypton: 

1. The computing power has been greatly improved. With the continuous development of the current semiconductor industry technology, the emergence of advanced packaging, Chiplet and other high-end processes and emerging technologies, it is possible to realize the ultra-large computing power autonomous driving chip that can meet the power consumption of the terminal, and it also enables higher-order and smarter. Human-computer interaction, in-cabin applications, and automatic driving functions have the opportunity to become a reality. 

2. The integration level of the chip is further improved, and the security level of the chip is strengthened in all aspects. In addition to the chip, the entire automotive electronic and electrical architecture has ushered in unprecedented changes in recent years. In the future, the status of the chip as the central computing platform of the automotive electronic architecture will be further strengthened, which not only puts forward higher requirements for chip integration, but also Higher requirements are placed on the security level of chips and algorithms.

We can see from the product planning map of the Black Sesame Smart Huashan series chips that the Black Sesame Smart A2000, which is scheduled to be released in 2023, is expected to become the first domestic autonomous driving chip with a large computing power of more than 250 TOPS, and will also meet higher-level requirements. safety certification standards.

agitation, big time

In this century-long transformation of the automobile industry, the Chinese market is undoubtedly at the forefront of the world. The rise of new domestic car companies and domestic self-driving chips marks the full blooming of China's auto industry from sales to R&D. 

According to Marklines data, from January to September 2022, the global sales of new energy vehicles will increase collectively. Among them, the global sales in the Chinese market accounted for as high as 44.4%, and the year-on-year growth rate reached an astonishing 109.3%. World number one. 

At the end of the interview, Liu Weihong sighed to 36 Krypton: "I am a traditional car person and have deep feelings for cars. Unfortunately, I have watched the Chinese auto industry struggle for decades, (but still) can't develop my own. The engine, its own gearbox."

"However, in the era of intelligent driving, we have seen the possibility of Chinese cars leading the world. This new round of industrial and technological changes is a godsend opportunity for every practitioner."