OmniVision announces driver monitoring system (DMS) ASIC

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OmniVision Technologies, a developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, has announced in advance of CES the OAX8000 AI-enabled, automotive application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

The ASIC has been optimised for entry-level, stand-alone driver monitoring systems (DMS).

The OAX8000 uses a stacked-die architecture to provide a DMS processor with on-chip DDR3 SDRAM memory (1GB). The company claims that it is the only dedicated DMS processor to integrate a neural processing unit (NPU) and image signal processor (ISP), which is able to provide dedicated processing speeds up to 1.1 trillion operations per second for eye gaze and eye tracking algorithms.

These fast processing speeds with 1K MAC of convolutional neural network (CNN) acceleration, along with integrated SDRAM, enable what is said to be the lowest power consumption available for a DMS system - the OAX8000 and OmniVision automotive image sensor consume just 1W in typical conditions, combined. Further optimising DMS systems, this integration also reduces the board area for the engine control unit (ECU).

According to Yole Développement, the accelerated market drive for DMS is expected to generate a 56% CAGR between 2020 and 2025. This is being driven by the European Union’s Euro NCAP requirement that all new cars sold in the region have a DMS camera by 2022.

“Most DMS processors on the market today are not dedicated to this application, requiring added circuitry to perform other system functions that consumes more power, occupies more board space and doesn’t allow room for on-chip SDRAM,” explained Brian Pluckebaum, automotive product marketing manager at OmniVision. “By focusing the design of our OAX8000 ASIC on entry-level DMS, we were able to create the automotive industry’s most optimized solution.”

The OAX8000’s on-chip NPU is supported by TensorFlow, Caffe, MXNet and ONNX tool chains. In addition, this ASIC embeds quad Arm Cortex A5 CPU cores with Neon technology for accelerated video encoding/decoding and on-chip video analytics algorithms, along with hardware for image processing, video encoding and RGB/IR processing.

Its high dynamic range (HDR) processing capability allows the ASIC to accept input from RBG/IR image sensors and support high quality output, for videos taken during the day or at night, in conditions with widely contrasting bright and dark images. The integrated video encoder accepts up to 5 megapixel captures from OmniVision’s automotive image sensors, and outputs up to 2K resolution video at 30 frames per second (fps).

Boot-up time for the OAX8000 is also significantly faster and eliminates any delay between ignition and activation of the DMS camera. Additionally, it supports secure boot features to provide cybersecurity.

Other applications include processing occupant detection algorithms, such as distinguishing a baby from a grocery bag, and providing alerts when objects are left behind in the vehicle. Additionally, this ASIC can be used in automotive video security systems to perform functions such as FaceID, as well as preset driver-comfort settings (e.g., seat position) that are activated when the DMS first scans the driver’s face.