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Freescale acquires Canada-based image cognition IP company

Posted: 14 Sep 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Freescale  image cognition  CogniVue  ADAS  Mobileye 

Freescale Semiconductor has recently bought CogniVue Corp., an image cognition IP developer based in Ottawa, Canada, which in the last four years has played a significant role in Freescale's advanced driver assistance system SoC solutions as a key vision IP partner.

By bringing CogniVue's IP and its development team in-house, Freescale hopes to lead the safety-critical ADAS and eventually autonomous car market with its own IP, developed from the very start as "automotive qualified."

Davide Santo, Freescale's safety and chassis segment manager based in Munich, explained that safety can't be an afterthought. He stated that the acquisition of CogniVue affords Freescale the opportunity to develop vision IP "that's designed in lockstep with Freescale's automotive safety requirement knowledge." This will "ease our internal work," and "our integration of safety-critical hardware and software," he added.

Freescale declined to disclose either how much it spent for the acquisition or how big a workforce the company is getting from CogniVue. Freescale, however, said CogniVue's team will be easily integrated into Freescale's automotive MCU group.

The company also stressed that the CogniVue acquisition isn't about investing in revenue but rather investing in R&D.

Changing vision IP requirements

Among many players working on computer vision solutions, everyone from Nvidia and Intel to Google, Texas Instruments and Freescale, Jim McGregor, principal at Tirias Research, stated that Mobileye is the most established and well entrenched company. "It's because they offer a complete solution from the silicon to the system to the database of information."

Asked about the difference, McGregor said, "Mobileye has the most extensive database in the industry for ADAS applications." But he said, "The CogniVue platform, according to Freescale, is more open because it is developed using OpenCL."

Freescale's Santo acknowledged, "Thanks to Mobileye's mono-vision system [based on the forward-looking camera], the automotive vision market has really blossomed." However, the ADAS market is moving toward stereo-vision technology based on a pair of highly synchronised cameras. "But it's not dominant yet," he added.

Most significantly, though, the automotive vision system is no longer just about recognising what's in front of a car. It's now required to "estimate the point of contact, collision" in time and space, Santo said.

In a three-step scenario, Santo said the ADAS market's phase 1 was triggered by the vision system's ability to sense objects and lanes. This was mainly pioneered by Mobileye.

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