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ARM enables autonomous vehicles with its advanced safety processor

21 September 2016

ARM has launched a new real-time processor with advanced safety features for autonomous vehicles and medical and industrial robots.

The ARM Cortex-R52 was designed to address functional safety in systems that must comply with ISO 26262 ASIL D and IEC 61508 SIL 3, the most stringent safety standards in the automotive and industrial markets.

The Cortex-R52 is ideally-suited for systems that demand advanced safety features alongside efficient and responsive execution. It will enable applications as diverse as surgical automation, safety management and automotive powertrain control. STMicroelectronics is the first ARM partner to announce it has licensed the high performance processor to enable it to create highly integrated SoCs for the automotive market. 
                                                                                                                   
“The Cortex-R52 is the first processor built on the ARMv8-R architecture and it was designed from the ground up to address functional safety,” said James McNiven, general manager for CPU and media processing groups, ARM. “We are helping partners to meet particular market opportunities, especially in fully autonomous vehicles and robotics systems where specific functionality is required for safety-critical tasks. By documenting the strict development process, fault modelling and supporting software isolation, ARM is enabling a faster route to market for partners addressing these applications.” 

How the Cortex-R52 works

The Cortex-R52 offers hardware-enforced separation of software tasks to ensure safety-critical code is fully isolated. This allows the hardware to be managed by a software hypervisor policing the execution and resourcing of tasks. By enabling the precise and robust separation of software, the Cortex-R52 decreases the amount of code that must be safety-certified, so speeding up development as software integration, maintenance and validation is easier. The processor also deals with increased software complexity while delivering the determinism and fast context switching that real-time systems demand. 

“The Cortex-R52 supports our Smart Driving vision by enabling a new range of high-performance, power-efficient SoCs for any in-vehicle application demanding real-time operation and the highest levels of functional safety, including powertrain, chassis and ADAS,” said Fabio Marchiò, Automotive & Discrete Group Vice President and Automotive Digital Division General Manager, STMicroelectronics. “The Cortex-R52’s ability to compartmentalise software provides our users with the best solution for safety without loss of determinism. Its virtualisation support simplifies the consolidation of applications and functions into a single processor, delivering a shorter integration time.” 

DENSO, a leading global supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components is supporting the launch.

"DENSO welcomes the development of new processor technology to drive the evolution of embedded real-time control, which is critical to advancing capabilities for autonomous systems,” said Hideki Sugimoto, Project General Manager, ePF Advanced R&D Department, DENSO Corporation. “We look forward to seeing the first devices powered by the Cortex-R52."

The availability of ARM Fast Models and Cycle Models enables software partners to develop solutions for the processor. They further speed the path to market as software developers will get access to the Cortex-R52 early in the design process. The Cortex-R52 offers a thirty five percent performance uplift compared to the Cortex-R5, which is already deployed in a range of safety applications. It has achieved a score of 1.36 Automark/MHz on the EEMBC AutoBench, the highest in its class, using the Green Hills Compiler 2017.

“Green Hills Software is expanding its support for ARM processors with optimising compiler solutions for the Cortex-R52,” said Dan Mender, vice-president business development at Green Hills Software. “Through close collaboration with ARM, Green Hills delivers the industry’s highest performing safety certified compiler for the Cortex-R52, enabling customers to develop safety-critical products at the highest certified levels of automotive (ASIL D) and industrial safety (SIL 3).”


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