NXP is announcing today that it has created the underlying silicon for a self-driving car that could hit the market around 2020.

Of course, someone else will have to actually supply the software brains that enable the car to drive itself. That is the hard part. But the Austin, Texas-based chip maker still considers its accomplishment to be a big milestone on the road to making self-driving cars a reality.

The BlueBox solution is engineered to enable car makers to create cars with autonomous driving systems in a few years. The BlueBox system provides a central computing engine and ties in sensor systems such as radar, Lidar, and vision. It also has an onboard secure V2X system — all powered by NXP chips. Those chips are all in volume or sampling production for customers today.

NXP said it has provided chips to four of the five largest car makers in the world. The goal is to provide a system that can meet the stringent safety, power, and processing performance requirements of the global auto industry.

In autonomous vehicles, multiple streams of sensor data are routed to the BlueBox engine, where they are fused to create a complete 360-degree model of the environment around the vehicle. This helps the software figure out if there are any threats to car safety nearby. The BlueBox engine is an open platform, based on Linux, and it is based on NXP’s S32V automotive vision processor and its LS2088A embedded compute processor.

“With this industry-first platform, NXP is leveraging its worldwide automotive silicon leadership to dramatically advance the state of autonomous vehicles,” said Kurt Sievers, executive vice president of NXP’s automotive business, in a statement. “Our systems-level expertise, deep understanding of complex ADAS engineering challenges, and broad portfolio of NXP products meeting automotive-grade (ISO 26262-level) functional safety requirements all position NXP as the definitive silicon provider capable of single-handedly speeding the readiness and availability of the self-driving cars of tomorrow.”

NXP is one of the world’s largest chipmakers, with 45,000 employees and revenues in 2015 of $6.1 billion. The company says it is the No. 1 provider of chips to the automotive market. Eight of the world’s top 10 car makers use its ADAS processors.

NXP's chips can take data from sensors and process threats to a car.

Above: NXP’s chips can take data from sensors and process threats to a car.

Image Credit: NXP