Moving to Arm®: A Marriage of Minimums

By | May 10, 2018

By Sravan Puttagunta, CEO and Co-founder of Civil Maps

Civil Maps is excited to announce that we’ve migrated our edge-based HD mapping and localization solution to the Arm® family of processors. Arm is the licensor to the largest ecosystem of automotive grade system-on-chips (SoC) and system-on-modules (SoM), with its chips already found in 85% of automotive electronic control units (ECU) on the road. Our team sees this as a key step towards building a truly scalable platform for self-driving car developers. The industry still has a long way to go, but we believe that the arrival of cost-effective, production-grade systems for level 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles just got significantly closer.

The transition to Arm signifies a new paradigm in which car OEMs no longer need to sacrifice power efficiency and precious in-car real estate to deliver the reliable high-level performance required for autonomous vehicles. This also means that autonomous vehicle developers will be able to take advantage of our vehicular cognition stack through their existing supply chains.

The underlying technology that we migrated is voxel-based “fingerprinting,” a concept well-known in the advertising and audio worlds. By design, it is lightweight in terms of storage and compute requirements, underscoring why our platform makes such an ideal fit for the Arm architecture. For enhanced compatibility, we have accelerated core components of our algorithms and software to run on the Arm CPU architecture. And we’ve been able to do it without sacrificing any of the CPU, memory, storage efficiencies that Arm SoCs support. Currently, no other competing solutions, which commonly rely on x86 and/or GPU-based architectures, offer developers any kind of path to production-scale vehicle autonomy. Towards that goal, the decision to work on Arm was easy. After all, we are marrying a lightweight architecture with a lightweight solution.

Benefits of Arm Deployment:

  • Low power requirements
  • Greater system reliability
  • Smaller hardware footprint
  • High performance
  • Low cost
  • Arm ecosystem

Benefits of Civil Maps System:

  • Lightweight map data format
  • Low power requirements
  • Low compute requirements
  • Low bandwidth (3G & 4G) consumption
  • Minimal storage requirements
  • Robust performance

In collaboration with Ford and several other global automakers, mapping companies, and mobility providers, Civil Maps successfully completed a series of proof-of-concept demonstrations that leveraged the x86 architecture while working towards the Arm migration. Although utilizing x86 servers or GPU-based systems is common in the autonomous vehicle industry today for prototype demonstrations and small geofenced areas, the practice is not likely to reach production deployment at scale due to longstanding issues of cost, power consumption, and reliability.

The Arm-powered HD maps and localization solution by Civil Maps will deliver major performance gains by reducing complexity, cost, in-car real estate requirements, and power consumption. Tim Dawkins, Autonomous Car Specialist at SBD Automotive, sees the long-run benefits, saying, “Committing to an Arm-based architecture will greatly assist Civil Maps in seamlessly commercializing their technology to leading automakers.”

Interested in joining the Civil Maps team? Please visit or reach out to to learn about new opportunities.

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