Google has just announced that the Android operating system will support the upcoming 3D graphics API (application programming interface) being developed by the Khronos Group, an open consortium of hardware and software companies. The announcement by Google brings a major new operating system to the table for the Khronos Group. Aside from Android, SteamOS, Tizen, and several Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Red Hat support the API.
The Khronos platform, dubbed Vulkan, provides high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs. Vulkan gives applications direct control over GPU acceleration, which helps maximize graphics performance and minimize the number of drivers that needs to be installed.
Maximizing Market Reach
The Khronos Group, a consortium of tech companies including Intel, Nvidia, SGI and Sun Microsystems, is dedicated to creating open standard APIs to enable the authoring and playback of media on a wide variety of platforms and devices. The group made its announcement as part of the run-up to the SIGGRAPH 2015 conference in Los Angeles this week.
“Hardware and software companies need an open 3D API to maximize market reach and minimize porting costs, and Vulkan is being forged by a broad consortium of industry leaders to do exactly that,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group. “Vulkan’s adoption and availability on platforms such as Android, Windows, Linux and SteamOS will ensure strong developer support -- creating a wealth of high-quality content and applications for any platform that leverages this royalty-free standard.”
One of the key advantages of the open API is that it enables multi-threaded performance and will function on multiple platforms, including mobile, desktop, console, and embedded platforms. Khronos is working to develop a tools architecture that can load code validation, debugging and profiling layers during development, without impacting production performance. Vulkan is on track to be implemented later this year, according to the group.
Safety Critical Working Group Launched
In addition to the news that Android will be supporting the Vulkan API, Khronos also announced today that it is launching a new Safety Critical working group to develop open graphics and compute acceleration standards for markets that require system safety certification.
The development of an open graphics and acceleration standard will be important for applications in industries that use display technology and for which safety is critically important, such as the automotive and aviation industries. In particular, next-generation automotive technologies, such as heads-up displays, will require advanced rendering capabilities in addition to high reliability.
Visual computing acceleration will be a vital component of many emerging safety critical market opportunities, including advanced driver assistance systems, autonomous vehicles and new generation avionics systems, said Trevett, who is also vice president at Nvidia.
“The development of a next-generation Khronos graphics standard for safety critical systems is an important step to advance avionics, automotive, and other high reliability display systems,” said Steve Viggers, vice president of software at CoreAVI.