ARM tips the ARMv8-R MCU: realtime and deterministic all the way! - Embedded.com

ARM tips the ARMv8-R MCU: realtime and deterministic all the way!

MADISON, Wis.— ARM has unveiled its new microprocessorarchitecture specifically designed to rundeterministic, real-time embeddedapplications in automotive electronics andother industrial control systems.

One of the highlights of the newarchitecture — dubbed ARMv8-R — is ahardware-assisted virtualization modedesigned into its real-time embeddedprocessor. EE Times has learned that Nvidiais likely to be among the first companies tolicense the ARMv8-R architecture.

Described by ARM as a “bare-metal”hypervisor mode, the new architecture'svirtualization feature is in big demandamong real-time embedded system designerssaddled with the “increasingly stickyproblem of combining different software withsafety-critical applications,” says RichardYork, director of product marketing at ARM.The need to run different operating systems,applications, and real-time tasks on asingle processor is paramount. Yet systemdesigners are asked to do so by ensuringthey are strictly isolated from one another.

Automotive customers — carmakers and Tier1s included — are particularly eager forthe virtualization feature, according toYork.

The ARMv8-R architecture is designed to runrich OSs (such as Android for a graphicaluser interface) and real-time operatingsystems on the same processor. It is alsodesigned to allow both virtual memory andprotected memory systems to coexist on oneprocessor.

ARMv8-R architecture enables a 'rich' OS with memory management. (Source: ARM)

ARMv8-Rarchitecture enables a “rich” OS withmemory management.
(Source: ARM)

Kevin Krewell, senior analyst at the LinleyGroup, summed it up: “A system designer canconsolidate multiple real-timemicrocontroller functions into oneARMv8-R-based processor without losingreal-time responsiveness and processisolation.”

Those looking to play a bigger role in theautomotive market are paying close attentionto ARM's new microprocessor architecture.Asked about ARMv8-R, Nvidia told EE Times ina separate interview:

    Nvidia is investing heavily in thedevelopment of hypervisor solutions for anumber of markets, including automotive.Based on the ARM architecture, Nvidiaautomotive solutions will be able to runmultiple operating systems on a singleprocessor to enable simultaneous use ofboth infotainment applications and moresafety-critical functions.

Why hypervisor for automotive?
A big change in the automotive landscape inrecent years is that more and more featuresin new cars are defined in software andelectronics, rather than mechanical systems.As a result, “more and more car OEMs havebegun writing their own software codes,”explained York. Carmakers, seeking a littlebit more control over their own cars, arecoming up with clever new features throughtheir own software.

To read more, go to “ARM Unveils New Architecture for Automotive.”

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