Picture yourself resting or attending a meeting in the back seat while your car is driving you home with all the privacy a driverless vehicle offers. Designing autonomous systems involves decoding environmental cues and making safe decisions. Convolution Neural Networks (CNNs) are the leading choices for computer vision tasks due to their high performance and scalability to pieces of hardware. They have long been run on Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) and Central Processing Units (CPUs). Yet, today, there is an urgent need to accelerate CNNs in low-power consumption hardware for real-time inference. This research aims to design a configurable hardware accelerator for 8-bit fixed point audio and image CNN models. An audio network is developed to classify environmental sounds from children playing in the streets, car horns, and sirens; an image network is designed to classify cars, lanes, road signs, traffic lights, and pedestrians. The two CNNs are quantized from a 32-bit floating-point to an 8-bit fixed-point format while maintaining high accuracy. The hardware accelerator is verified in SystemVerilog and compared to similar works.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Neural networks (Computer science)--Energy consumption; Convolutions (Mathematics); Computer vision; Automated vehicles--Design and construction

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Electrical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Electrical Engineering (KGCOE)


Mark A. Indovina

Advisor/Committee Member

Dorin Patru

Advisor/Committee Member

Carlos Barrios


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes