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ARM Holdings latest to set its sights on driverless tech

Chip firms battle it out to be the "brains" of driverless cars (Photo: Fotolia)

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Gareth Watson
Gareth Watson
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UK-based chip firm joins a race that is truly heating up: The race to power the driverless car!

Whether you know it or not, you're probably not too far from a device that runs on an ARM invention. The Cambridge-based company builds designs for microchips which it then licenses to household names like Qualcomm and Samsung. Its chip-designs are even said to have been central to the smart-phone revolution and are now used in 85% of the world's most sophisticated smartphones.

Such is the sheer number of applications for low-power computing, that in 2015, 15 billion ARM-designed chips were shipped and installed in devices. Now, however, as more and more tech firms consider automated driving as the next major frontier, it wants a piece of the high-powered action too.

To that end, it has just unveiled a brand new technology specifically designed for autonomous vehicles and other AI applications - the DynamiIQ processor. The processor will essentially be the 'brain' of the car of the future: and has to pack enough punch to fuse the hordes of data that it receives via sensors. The firm claims that the chip will be able to guarantee that the vehicle reacts safely in the event of a failure in the absence of a backup driver:

"From a safety point of view what we have here is unique," said John Ronco, a product marketing head at ARM. "We don't believe there is anyone else on the market that can do this well."

But safety is not the only benefit of the new chip, the company says. Performance is another important factor: "It will be able to process much faster and more efficiently than currently available processors," said Ronco.

ARM's new chip could also help the company challenge its rival Intel, who have also recently made headlines in staking a claim for the driverless car market by acquiring Mobileye.

ARM Holdings is based in Silicon Fen, Cambridge - the U.K's equivalent of Silicon Valley. But what was once Britain's answer to Apple or Google, has recently been bought by Japan's Softbank in a deal worth 24 billion pounds.

Read the full Telegraph article here.

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Gareth Watson
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