For drones to be fully autonomous, they need to be able to navigate safely and efficiently. Synopsys believes it can help drones reach their full potential with its newly announced next-generation of embedded vision processors.
“Just as cars are moving to autonomous driving, drones are moving to autonomous flying,” said Mike Thompson, senior manager of product marketing for Synopsys’ DesignWare Arc Processors. “Autonomous flight can only be accomplished if the drone has the capability to interpret and make decisions based on its surroundings.”
The new processors are a part of the company’s DesignWare EV6x family, and they feature a convolutional neural network (CNN) engine to provide autonomous vehicles with better performance, enable scene segmentation, and extend battery life. According to Thompson, scene segmentation helps drones determine the sky from the ground and trees from clouds.
“[Vision processing] enables drones to see and accurately interpret the environment, and to make the proper decisions about how to proceed,” he said. “If the drone can’t tell trees from clouds or the ground from the sky or a person, it will have a difficult time successfully and safely navigating. While navigating can be done to some degree with other sensors (altimeter, radar, etc.), the fusion of these with embedded vision enables a much higher level of control.”
The configurable EV6x processors are designed with the ability to address a full range of vision requirements operating either standalone or in parallel with a host processor. Developers can access OpenCV and OpenVX programing libraries, the OpenVX runtime, and the company’s MetaWare Development Toolkit to develop applications based on the processors.
"By extending our embedded vision processor portfolio with the new EV6x family and delivering high-productivity software programming tools, Synopsys enables designers of embedded systems to quickly incorporate state-of-the-art visual intelligence into their systems with the performance and power efficiency necessary to differentiate in their markets,” said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP and prototyping at Synopsys.