By Brian Santo, EETimes (June 2, 2021)
Among the new process nodes introduced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. at its 2021 Virtual Technology Symposium was N5A, which the company said is “aimed at satisfying the growing demand for computing power in newer and more intensive automotive applications such as AI-enabled driver assistance and the digitization of vehicle cockpits.”
In a blog post, TSMC head of global marketing Godfrey Cheng, wrote that, “Compared to TSMC’s N7 technology with the Automotive Service Package, N5A delivers a ~20% improvement in performance or a ~40% improvement in power efficiency and a ~80% improvement in logic density.”
What most people skimmed over about those first few amazing autonomous vehicles (AV) is that they all had the rough equivalent of a small data center in the trunk. Ever since, auto companies and their suppliers have been trying to figure out a practical amount of computing power sufficient to support autonomous driving — and that amount has been significantly less than a small data center. But what if, 10 years after those first AVs were demonstrated, putting a supercomputer in a car has actually become practical — or is close enough to consider it?