EyeQ4: meet the chip that’ll power your self-driving car

Mobileye’s processor is being used by everyone from Audi to Volvo

“Jack”, Audi’s self-driving A7 prototype, recently completed a 550-mile trip from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas – and its lane-changing and collision-avoidance abilities are largely down to one chip: the Mobileye EyeQ3. Well, now that processor’s successor is on the way.

The EyeQ4, announced today, offers a huge amount of processing power (over 2.5 teraflops, or ten times the power of an Xbox 360) but uses only 3 watts of energy – less than many mobile phone processors. That allows it to analyse the huge amounts of data required to keep an autonomous vehicle driving safely and efficiently.

There are multiple MIPS-based quad-core CPUs inside the chip that manage and control data, as well as several Vector Microcode Processors (VMPs) that take care of image processing tasks. The chip can handle visual input from up to eight cameras at 30fps simultaneously, which aids self-driving car systems by maintaining constantly-updated awareness of everything that’s going on around them.

Mobileye’s chips have become integral parts of many car manufacturers’ self-driving prototypes, with the likes of BMW, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Tesla and Volvo relying on them. It could well be that your future car – the one that lets you read the paper or play smartphone games while it safely whisks you to the office – is powered by the EyeQ4 or one of its successors.