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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Intel’s New Tech Drives Smarter, Faster Cars

March 18th, 2024 by Sanjay Gangal

Intel has introduced a game-changing approach to how cars think and perform, marking a significant shift towards smarter, software-driven vehicles. This move is set to redefine what we expect from our cars, making them not just means of transport but smart computing hubs on wheels.

At the heart of this evolution is Intel’s latest innovation in virtualization technology, which is essentially a smarter way for the car’s computer to handle multiple tasks at once without slowing down or compromising on performance. This is big news for everyone from car manufacturers to drivers, as it addresses a key challenge in the auto industry: how to make cars that are not only efficient but also capable of delivering the advanced features and experiences consumers want.

A graphic shows GPU software virtualization capabilities that use a hypervisor compared with Intel’s plan for an SDV with hardware-enabled physical separation.

Jack Weast, Intel Fellow and vice president and general manager of Intel Automotive, emphasized the significance of Intel’s advancements. “We have the most power- and performance-efficient implementation of virtualization solutions on the market,” said Weast. “Without this, automakers won’t be able to deliver the next-gen experiences they envision, potentially leading to a poor-performing and slow-responding in-vehicle experience for consumers.”

But why is this development crucial for the future of vehicles? Traditionally, the auto industry has relied on hypervisors for software virtualization, creating bottlenecks that can’t scale with today’s performance demands. Intel’s approach, which enforces separation at the silicon level, bypasses these bottlenecks, unlocking new levels of performance and quality for emerging workloads and next-gen features that consumers are eager to see.

A graphic compares performance benchmark of SR-IOV and virtual-only separation (VirtIO) using GFX Manhattan 3.0 (offscreen).

To understand the mechanics behind Intel’s technology, consider the journey of an electric vehicle from Point A to Point B, optimizing performance along the most direct route. In this analogy, traditional virtualization methods are akin to a detour that consumes vital energy and time. Intel’s silicon-enforced virtualization, on the other hand, represents a direct, efficient path to the hardware, eliminating unnecessary detours and ensuring optimal performance.

This technical prowess is not just theoretical. A comparison using the industry-standard GFX Manhattan 3.0 graphics benchmark illustrated the stark efficiency benefits of Intel’s system-on-chips (SoCs) over traditional virtual-only separation (VirtIO). The results were telling: under Intel’s methodology, a workload requiring 100 frames per second (FPS) achieved 99 FPS with zero latency. In contrast, a non-Intel approach yielded only 43 FPS, plus additional latency.

The implications of Intel’s breakthrough extend beyond raw performance metrics. For consumers, this means vehicles that are not just transportation modes but immersive, responsive environments. High frame-rate gaming, stunning 3D maps, real-time visualizations across multiple displays, and enhanced safety through real-time AI inferencing are now within reach, all while ensuring convenient over-the-air updates for the vehicle’s lifetime.

In summary, Intel’s foray into software-defined vehicles marks a turning point for the automotive industry. By championing efficiency and performance through silicon-enforced virtualization, Intel is not just meeting current consumer demands but paving the way for the future of driving. As we look ahead, the roads we travel on may change, but the promise of innovation and excellence from companies like Intel ensures that the journey will be nothing short of revolutionary.

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