They will form the heart of highly automated networked vehicles: powerful computers installed in cars that process all data and information so quickly and highly reliably that they can steer vehicles safely through traffic. The Mannheim-CeCaS (CentralCarServer) research project aims to develop a corresponding automotive supercomputing platform. 30 research partners from industry and universities are working on the project, which is funded as part of a large-scale funding initiative by the German government to digitize automobility. Infineon is leading and coordinating the project. On February 28, representatives from all participating institutions met for the kick-off at Campeon, Infineon’s corporate headquarters.
The Mannheim-CeCaS research project is dedicated to researching and developing a holistic central computing platform for future highly automated vehicles. It is intended to close a gap that is becoming apparent in connected and electrified automobiles: Energy-efficient and cost-effective high-end computers that keep pace with the increasing demands on computing power and complexity while meeting the high requirements for qualification for automobiles are still missing to make them suitable for everyday use. It’s all about combining safety and high performance, automotive supercomputing. This includes specially designed processors as well as interfaces and system architectures.
The central computing unit is to be based on novel automotive-qualified high-performance processors in non-planar transistor technology (FinFET). Application-specific hardware accelerators and an adaptive software platform for autonomous vehicles will complement the processors. Approaches for so-called “convolutional neural networks” as well as event-based neuromorphic accelerators will be investigated. Necessary adaptations of the on-board network will be considered, as well as an automotive-suitable assembly and interconnection technology. The consortium is aiming for full automotive qualification (ASIL-D) at system level.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding Mannheim-CeCaS with approximately 46 million euros as part of its “Mannheim” initiative, which refers by name to the birthplace of the automobile and now aims to take its development to a new level through digitization. The project participants, led by Infineon, represent the entire chain of suppliers, specialists, research institutes and universities. The larger companies include Bosch, Continental and ZF Friedrichshafen. In addition to various Fraunhofer institutes, partners such as the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are also involved. The 30 partners estimate a total budget of around 90 million euros for the future-proof central computer concept for automotive electronics that is to be developed. This makes Mannheim-CeCaS one of the largest funded German cooperation projects with a three-year term.
The 30 partners in the CeCaS research project:
Bosch, Continental Automotive, ZF Friedrichshafen, Hella, AVL Software & Functions, Ambrosys, Infineon Technologies AG (coordination; with Infineon Technologies Dresden GmbH & Co. KG and Infineon Technologies Semiconductor GmbH), Kernkonzept, Berliner Nanotest und Design, Missing Link Electronics, Inchron, Glück Engineering, STTech, Steinbeis ZFW, Swissbit Deutschland, KIT Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik, Technische Universität München AIR, LIS, SEC, Hochschule München, Universität zu Lübeck, Technische Universität Chemnitz, Fraunhofer ENAS, IMWS, IPMS and IZM.