Imagination showcases groundbreaking new safety-critical driver

Taking the first steps to making safety-critical 3D graphics for the automotive market a reality

London, England; 29th April 2020Imagination Technologies new OpenGL® SC (Safety-Critical) 2.0 driver development for its automotive graphics processing units (GPUs) enables automotive OEMs and Tier 1s to benefit from GPU acceleration in safety-critical applications. Automotive applications such as digital dashboards, dials, clusters, cockpit domain controllers, surround-view displays, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) can now function with an added layer of protection.

The OpenGL SC driver demo shows an advanced dashboard with safety-critical elements running on existing automotive silicon. More information can be found in the accompanying blog post.

Jamie Broome, Senior Director Automotive Business, Imagination Technologies, says; “Safety is an increasingly important component in vehicles as they move towards greater autonomy. The creation of our new safety-critical driver recognises the often-overlooked aspect of certifiable software. This safety-critical driver highlights Imagination’s continuous investment as a leader in the embedded automotive market.”

The OpenGL SC driver has been developed in-house at Imagination, taking advantage of its extensive automotive experience and is based on its product development lifecycle aligned to ISO 26262:2018. It can be fully virtualized by leveraging Imagination’s HyperLane Technology enabling it to be used alongside standard non-safety critical OpenGL ES, Vulkan® and OpenCL™ drivers from Imagination. The combined solution provides access to the full range of automotive APIs.

In addition, the safety-critical driver will support the advanced hardware safety and redundancy mechanisms present in upcoming safety-critical GPUs from Imagination. Imagination will be making further announcements on its roadmap for safety-critical GPUs in due course.

Contact [email protected] for more information.

Industry support for Imagination’s safety-critical driver

Christopher Giordano, VP of UX/UI Technology at The DiSTI Corporation, says; “We are excited about the release of Imagination’s OpenGL SC driver. Our GL Studio UI tool led the UI market as the first to certify to ISO 26262 ASIL D five years ago. In conjunction with our recently renewed ASIL D certification, we are looking forward to working closely with Imagination on its release to help bring functionally safe UI/UX to the automotive industry on their industry-leading PowerVR GPUs.”

James Hodgson, Principal Analyst, ABI Research, says; “The use of 3D graphics in cockpit domain controllers for dials, clusters and surround-view is on the rise and is increasingly important in defining the look and feel of the car. Up to now, it has not been possible to make GPU drivers functionally safe, restricting the use of GPUs for safety-critical functions. The development of a safety-critical driver by Imagination is a key step for the automotive industry and opens up the possibilities for advanced, visually rich 3D in a functionally safe environment.”

Piers Daniell, OpenGL, OpenGL ES and OpenGL SC working group chair, The Khronos® Group, says; “The OpenGL SC working group is delighted that Imagination Technologies is developing a safety-critical OpenGL SC 2.0 driver. With the OpenGL SC 2.0 API, Khronos has further advanced the quality and performance of computer graphics in safety-critical environments. Improved graphics enhance the human-computer interface we use to solve complex problems and keep us safe at the same time. Imagination is bringing this vital technology to a market where the need for safety-critical visualization is more important than ever.”

Khronos Safety Critical Advisory Forum 

Imagination Technologies is a member of the Khronos working groups tasked with defining future API standards to enable compute and low-level graphics applications developing Vulkan® SC™. Imagination is also active in the Khronos Safety Critical Advisory Forum (KSCAF), which is developing design guidelines to aid in the development of interop API standards for safety-critical systems

The Khronos OpenGL SC 2.0 specification defines a “safety-critical” subset of OpenGL ES 2.0 for markets requiring highly dependable, safety-related systems, as required by avionics and automotive displays. One goal of using an API that is streamlined for safety-related applications is significantly reduced safety assurance costs.

The OpenGL SC 2.0 driver is based on a published Khronos specification and is expected to pass the Khronos Conformance Process when available. Current conformance status can be found at

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