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BMW goes Siri – but called IPA

Tesla has it already yet very limited. Mercedes will soon
roll out new cars with personal assistant and now BMW
is also announcing BMW IPA for release in 2019 as your
Siri pendant when it comes to automatization onboard.

It was just a logical step to be performed that BMW will also lever their cars to the next level of smart assisted driving.

Whereas BMW cars already have a large number of intelligent passive driving assistants (models from 2016 and newer also have semi-autonomous driving as well like Tesla has!) the ultimative next step will be the speech-based control of the car. We are already using technology at home talking to our tecnical devices and tell them what to do. Our cell phones work like that. a wide number of home devices also work like that so why not cars? Why not tell the car to do what we would usually do by pressing a number of buttons (and possibly get way more distracted from trraffic)?

That’s why aotomobile companies investigate in AI to create personal assistants in the cockpit software to help you concentrate on the essential: The traffic around you!

Of coures one might think it’s creepy to talk to an inanimate thing but be honest? Who of us did not yet test-drive Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant to execute orders on our mobile devices like “Hey Siri, how’s the weather today” or “OK Google, dial the cell phone number of Hans Muster” or “Hey Cortana, write a message to Bill Gates at microsoft dot com”.

In most cases the recognition is really good now as the PDAs are continuously “deep learning” from what you’ve said and what you wanted the PDA to do. And the best of it is that you don’t have to hagge through a whole bunch of menus just to reach a particular menu item.

You say what you want and your PDA is just performing all steps in the background, taking away a lot of distraction from you.

Especially in traffic where a lot of accidents happen because of the usage of cell phones or even the automobile’s equipment. this is just a logical step forward besides fully autonomous or fully-assisted driving.

What would have sounded like the future just 15 years ago os now coming to reality thanks to the massive increase of processing power of comuters at the size of a lighter.

So to make it clear to you what the implementation of an IPA into a car means, let’s have a look at some numbers.

Just imagine that as a small comparison: An iPhone X has as much power as a Pentium III back in 2000

Intel Pentium III 1 GHz (March 2000)

Transistor Count: 28 million
Clock Speed: 1,400 MHz
Process Scale: 130 nm
Thermal Design Power: 29 Watts
CTP Benchmark: 2’333 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 2 GFLOPS

So speaking of that, where you needed a whole computer just to have programs run, you needed 220V, a computer case and cooling.

Nowadays you have the same computing power in the size of a cigarette box.

If you get back 10 years again, you see that the computing power divides by factor 75:

Intel 486DX-33 (May 1990)

Transistor Count: 1.2 million
Clock Speed: 33 MHz
Process Scale: 8000nm
Thermal Design Power: 4.73 Watts
CTP Benchmarks: 12.407 MTOPS
Benchmarks: 0.03 GFLOPS

So in 1990 we had first mobile phones that did not perform fast though. Their basic function was to establish connections to GSM networks and if (at best) write SMS messages.

And another 20 years back in time (almost half a century back then:

AN/UYK-7 Single Bay Version (1970)

Memory: 48,000 words @ 32 bits (1,536,000 bytes)
Speed: 750,000 FLOPS

As you can see, the calcumation power of the machinery was 1:3000 of an actual iPhone today

But back to 2016 when Tesla has introduced it’s P75Smodel that supported semi-autonomous driving back then

It is said that the Tesla board computer (with a Drive PX2 from NVidia) has a processing power of 150 MacBook Pros mid 2016.

Let’s see the numbers for such an MBP mid 2016:

The i7 model can perform roughly about 86 GFLOPs and that’s quite impressive already.

So if you take 86 GFLOPs x 150 as a calculation base we come to roughly 13TFLOPs(!)

So we talk about a lot of computing power in a bord computer to help you with driving, keep tracks, surveilling the street and your car’s perimeter etc…

It is expectable that BMWs Driving assistant will have a similar processing power as well. And the fact that all fits now into a small computer instead of a heavy, room-filling machinery makes IT so fascinating. And the challenge to increase processing power while keeping the CPU cool is even more challenging as you cannot shrink the transistors without limits. At current we have the 7nm litography process, 5nm is experimental and 3nm is in development. But then the structure size is so small that new lithographic methods must be found in order to further reduce transistor size and enable smaller CPUs to be built.

Oh… and then there whe have Quantum computers that pont to a whole new direction of instruction processing.

So whatever comes, BMW and other automobile companies are also experimenting with AI to make our everyday life easier. But it involves a lot of processing power. and since computers were large even back in 2010 with a processing power compared to Tesla’s Drive PX2, it’s only logical and understandable why (semi-)autonomous cars and PDAs in your bord computer just now become available.

September 11, 2018 Netspark - 1578 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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