Xilinx Unveils Automotive Optical Flow for Driver Assistance Systems

At the Electronica 2008 Conference, Xilinx, Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX) debuted its Xilinx(R) Automotive (XA) Optical Flow solution for vision-based driver assistance (DA) systems. This field programmable gate array (FPGA) implementation integrates high-performance image processing capabilities from Digital Design Corporation (DDC) into a cost-effective, programmable platform that can be customized to support a variety of advanced applications, including pedestrian detection, collision warning, sign recognition, blind spot detection, back-up and parking aid.

The XA Optical Flow solution delivers the scalable processing horsepower needed to implement pixel-level image processing functions that extract relative object motion information from a sequence of video frames. Its FPGA implementation provides a number of adjustable parameters to support performance tuning tailored to the requirements of the target application. Demonstrations of this new Xilinx automation solution are taking place in the Xilinx Exhibit Booth at the Electronica 2008 Conference, which is being held at the International Congress Centre (ICM) in the New Munich Trade Fair Centre on November 11-14, 2008.

“The emerging automotive market for camera-based driver assistance systems is expected to grow from $941 million to $2587 million starting in 2010 to 2014,” said Jon Cropley, automotive research director for IMS Research. “Helping to fuel this growth is the automotive industry’s evolution from simple camera systems that provide images to the driver to more sophisticated collision warning systems that can notify the driver of potential crash situations.”

“Superior parallel processing performance coupled with cost-effective functional density make XA FPGAs an attractive programmable platform for automotive system developers,” said Paul Zoratti, senior system architect of automotive solutions for Xilinx. “Our new XA Optical Flow solution goes even further, leveraging DDC’s image processing technologies as key building blocks for FPGA-based DA systems. Developers are no longer constrained by the limitations of serial DSPs which can run out of steam for high-end pixel processing, or ASIC and ASSP alternatives that don’t have the flexibility to support rapid integration of new algorithms and application requirements as the market evolves.”

XA Optical Flow Solution
The XA Optical Flow solution is built on a Xilinx Spartan(R)-3 device and DDC Optical Flow IP core with its innovative motion estimation algorithms. The Optical Flow IP core extracts relevant information about the roadway environment from the video images provided by vehicle-based camera systems. The extracted motion images are segmented into separate objects (pixel blocks) and processed using a block matching technique. The output is a two- dimensional vector map that can be utilized to assess collision threats.

The block matching function requires a very high number of operations per second to perform sum of absolute difference (SAD) calculations across image frames. The Xilinx FPGA executes these operations in parallel, so in a single clock cycle multiple operations can be carried out. This is a higher performance, more efficient optical flow solution than is possible with traditional digital signal processing (DSP) CPUs, which generally operate serially and require very high clock rates.

“As the image resolution of vehicle-based cameras increases, the amount of data generated and throughput required to process it also increases greatly. This imposes a heavy burden on existing DSP CPU-based approaches, which cannot keep up with performance requirements. The combination of Xilinx FPGAs and our high-end optical flow core provides a scaleable processing solution with the speed needed for sophisticated vision-based driver assistance applications,” said David Kitchka, project manager at DDC.

About Xilinx Automotive Solutions
Xilinx is the automotive programmable logic device market leader with its Xilinx Automotive (XA) line of FPGAs and CPLDs tested to the AEC-Q100 automotive qualification specification. The company’s solutions go beyond silicon with the most comprehensive ecosystem of LogiCORE(TM) and AllianceCORE IP, operating systems, middleware, software, and development boards. Xilinx is also certified to ISO-TS16949 automotive quality management standards underscoring its commitment to being the preferred supplier of high quality products and solutions. For more information about Xilinx automotive solutions, visit: www.xilinx.com/automotive.

About Xilinx
Xilinx is the worldwide leader in complete programmable logic solutions.

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