Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Gareth Halfacree, 5 Jan 2015.
Aims for the automotive market.
Why is there a need for low power processors in cars ? Most in car system I've read about aim for low power draw but aren't car batteries and alternators able to provide plenty of juice.
Several things to consider here. The first is that power also equals heat: yes, you could stick your 800W desktop on an inverter and run it quite happily in the car, but who wants to listen to the whining of cooling fans in your lovely luxury automobile? The second is that there's no such thing as a free lunch: those 800Ws have to come from somewhere, and in a car they're coming from the engine. That's 800W of power you could be using to move the car forward, but instead you're using it to power a PC. Result: your mileage and performance just took a nose-dive. Then there's issues relating to space, weight, and the reliability (or lack thereof) of moving parts in a system that is going to be exposed to acceleration stresses and vibration.
A low-power system avoids all of those issues. You get all the advantages of a powerful in-car PC (like the Drive PX's ability to take readings from 12 HD cameras and use it to navigate) without sacrificing comfort or efficiency. There's a reason top-end cars don't have off-the-shelf PCs powering their entertainment and navigation systems...
I guess so, it just seems odd that they worry about power usage in vehicles when in effect they come with their own hot and noisy power generator.
I'm not saying that lower power processors aren't a good thing for cars, it's just car manufactures could have built cars with computers in them years ago, yet it seems a recent thing that they are using them for more than just the ECU or telling the time.
They are lagging behind a bit, but it was not until the US made GPS available for civilian use in 1994 and SatNav became a possibility, and mobile phones became a thing in 1996-ish, that there was a reason for having sophisticated in-car electronics (beyond ECU). Then technology had to catch up to becoming compact, powerful yet frugal and user-friendly, which did not really happen until about 2000.
With electric cars getting more popular, it makes sense. These cars require a little more precision processing to put use to every watt drawn from the battery, but that being said, that calculation means nothing if the computer calculating it is drawing more power than it manages to save.
In combustion cars, I see no real gain in what nvidia is trying to accomplish, except maybe self-driving cars.
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