ARM Targets Automotive and Industrial Control Markets

October 25, 2013. ARM has disclosed technical details of its new ARMv8-R architecture for real-time embedded processors for use in automotive electronics and other integrated safety and control applications. The ARMv8-R architecture builds on the rich heritage of the 32-bit ARMv7-R architecture used for the company’s market-leading Cortex-R series of real time processors and complements the ARMv8-A architecture announced in 2011.

The ARMv8-R architecture specification will enhance ARM’s real time 32-bit processor solutions with new features to expand their functionality and capability to meet for rapidly-evolving market requirements. In particular, processors implementing the ARMv8-R architecture will be suitable for the rapidly-expanding number of safety-related applications in automotive and industrial control.

A key innovation within the ARMv8-R architecture is the introduction of a “bare metal” Hypervisor mode, which enables programmers to combine different operating systems, applications, and real-time tasks on a single processor while ensuring strict isolation between them. This facilitates software consolidation and re-use, which will accelerate time-to-market and reduce development costs.

In addition, the ARMv8-R architecture will enable overall improvements in software quality and will support increasingly sophisticated embedded programming techniques such as model-based automated code generation.

The deployment of ARMv8-R architecture will reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve performance of embedded systems to support emerging automotive applications such as advanced driver assistance systems and vehicle to vehicle communications as well as factory-automation applications and human-machine interfaces. For example, a microcontroller incorporating an ARMv8-R processor could host Linux for graphical management and networking functions together with real-time operating system workloads such as motor control.

The ARMv8-R architecture also permits coexistence of both virtual memory and protected memory systems on the same processor, enabling an operating system using memory management, such as Linux, to be integrated with a real time operating system. Ecosystem support for the ARMv8-R architecture is anticipated in a number of operating system products including INTEGRITY from Green Hills Software, Nucleus from Mentor Graphics, and eT-Kernel from eSOL. These integrated hardware and software solutions will be capable of supporting stringent automotive and industrial interoperability and safety standards, including AUTOSAR, ISO 26262 and IEC 61508.

Other ARMv8-R architecture features include

  • improved memory protection scheme, which substantially reduces context switching time,
  • ARM NEON advanced SIMD instructions for significantly improved image signal processing tasks, and
  • instructions carried over from the ARMv8-A architecture such as CRC (cyclic redundancy check) for use in detecting the corruption of program code or data.

In support of the introduction of the ARMv8-R architecture, ARM is working to ensure a robust design ecosystem to support the new features. The DS-5 ARM tools and Fast Models already support the ARMv8-A architecture, and support for the ARMv8-R architecture will be available to lead partners Q3 2014. In addition, timed models, automotive simulation system-level tools, and mechanical and electronic modeling tools are being developed by EDA partners in advance of silicon.

Details of the new architecture will be disclosed at October 29-31 at ARM TechCon in Santa Clara.

A white paper containing details of the new architecture can be found here: www.arm.com/files/pdf/ARMv8R__Architecture_Oct13.pdf.

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