If anything, 2018 will be about autonomous vehicles. For those vehicles to function optimally, there has to be a lot of development in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), sensor processing and image recognition. These applications require stupendous amount of floating-point calculations. The resource efficient 16-bit floating-point format is to come to widespread use this year.

Yes, they are coming: the autonomous vehicles. Different companies are already testing them, like the self-driving cars tested by companies such as Tesla and Google. And what would you think about trucks equipped with Peloton technology’s platooning technology that drove over 1,000 miles in Florida in December, following a successful test in Michigan earlier in December.

A lot of systems are needed to make these vehicle move on their own. They have to have top of the range sensor equipment for spatial awareness, and AI and image processing to map the surroundings of the vehicle so that they can anticipate movements and dangerous situations.

16-bit Floating-Point (FP)
Billions of floating-point calculations form the backbone of these algorithms. Shaving of any overhead makes a huge difference. For many of these calculations, the precision of 32-bit FP is not necessary. 16-bit FP will do, and those are twice as efficient to store and require a quarter of the power to compute with.

16-bit FP is not so widespread yet, and is today mostly limited to dedicated graphics processors. But that is changing and more and more companies are adding 16-bit FP to the CPU core and vector units.

That is why Solid Sands has added 16-bit FP testing to its portfolio. With this development we are ahead of the curve as the C and C++ languages do not have a primitive type to accommodate this new format yet and tests are not readily available.

Safety First
It looks like the development of the autonomous vehicle will take a big leap this year. By adopting the 16-bit FP format, the cost of those developments and those vehicles could decrease, making them more accessible for everybody. But safety has to come first. That is why testing is so important. At Solid Sands we continue to develop SuperTest to stay up to date with all the new developments.

Want to talk to us about all those new developments in both technology and testing? Then join us at the Autonomous Vehicle Software Symposium in Stuttgart, Germany from June 5 until June 7. Our CTO Marcel Beemster will speak there about the importance of compiler testing. We would love to meet you at our booth #AV3007

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