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Chuck Alpert - the General Chair for the 53rd DAC
Chuck Alpert - the General Chair for the 53rd DAC
Chuck is the Group Director for Cadence Digital Signoff Group. Prior to joining Cadence he spent 17 years working at IBM Research in Austin, developing internal EDA tools. He received B.S. and B.A. degrees from Stanford University in 1991 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UCLA in 1996.

#53DAC, 6: How long until you can take a self-driving car to DAC?

April 4th, 2016 by Chuck Alpert - the General Chair for the 53rd DAC

NXP Automotive CTO Lars Reger to open DAC Monday; time to register and book your hotel | There is no hotter topic in tech than self-driving cars. How else to explain the worldwide headlines after what can only be described as a modest little fender-bender last month in Mountain View. The culprit was one of Alphabet, Inc.’s autonomous Lexus 450hs, by now a media darling/goat. Despite the apparent and very prosaic facts — the Lexus was traveling 2 miles per hour, nobody was hurt, it was the first at-fault incident in more than 1.5 million miles of autonomous driving, etc. — the event was and remains a modest sensation, online and otherwise.

“Google was dealing with a pronounced shadow hanging over its presence at SXSW this week,” wrote Nick Statt last week in The Verge. “Now the fallout [from the accident] has found its way into nearly every transportation-focused panel discussion here in Austin.”

Of course we will be continuing the discussion in a few months at DAC, the real gem on Austin’s technology event calendar this year. (Ahem!) Our Monday keynoter is NXP Automotive CTO, Lars Reger. Lars will talk about the specific technologies driving the autonomous vehicle revolution, from CMOS-based radar to gigabit Ethernet for in-car communication to vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure data exchange.

Now, given a choice, most people would probably initially choose to be on the wrong end of a browser than a bumper, even one traveling at a crawl. But how many would change their minds after watching Wired’s Andy Greenberg get hacked while driving a Jeep Cherokee 70 miles per hour down a St. Louis freeway last year?

“[T]he era of autonomous vehicles cannot truly arrive until consumers really trust that their vehicles are safe against hacking,” Lars wrote in the blurb describing his speech on

You should plan to be there in time for the speech, not once because the content is sure to be excellent but also because Lars is an engaging presenter with a good sense of humor, which he deploys now and then to point out that not every automotive security issue is one of life or death. “If, from my car, I can switch on your bathtub as I drive, then you have a problem,” he said last summer in his CDNLive keynote in Munich. He’s even a blogger!

Oh, and Lars isn’t the only representative of NXP this year at DAC. The company will also be displaying its revamped IoT Truck, the 36-ton, two-level, semi-truck trailer loaded with demonstrations, which you may have spotted earlier this year at shows like CES and Embedded World.

nxp-iot-truck (1)

Don’t worry… this one has a human driver.

While nobody knows the timetable for autonomous vehicles, I can tell you that now is the time to register for DAC and make your hotel reservations. Do it now to make sure you get a room close to the conference center — then you won’t need a self-driving car anyway.


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