Custom RISC-V cores for GPS augmentation

Custom RISC-V cores for GPS augmentation

News |
By Nick Flaherty

MerlinTPS is to use a RISC-V processor core from Bluespec for  satellite navigation augmentation and backup technology.

The deal marks the start of the next phase of MerlinTPS’ next-generation platform providing positioning, navigation, timing (PNT) and geospatial radio frequency data and comes as tractors from John Deere had problems with GPS during the recent solar storm

The RISC-V platform supports the expansion of PNT positioning and timing security capabilities by using existing signals on the ground to combat jamming and spoofing. MerlinTPS will create new tools that will strengthen cybersecurity and physical security technology as well as custom hardware.

RISC-V International details recent ratifications

The Bluespec expertise in the design, implementation and verification of RISC-V processors and workload accelerators will allow MerlinTPS to develop custom RISC-V processors. The RISC-V cores are designed to be easily ported from early prototypes using field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to mass produced application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) solutions.

“Bluespec has helped many companies use RISC-V to innovate, and we are happy to be bringing that capability to MerlinTPS,” said Charlie Hauck, CEO of Bluespec. “With our verification and validation centric RISC-V solutions, MerlinTPS can develop customized solutions in a matter of weeks, allowing it to deliver highly differentiated products with minimal project and schedule risk.”

“Bluespec’s seasoned advice, development experience and efficiencies have been a great springboard for us,” said Christian Kotscher, CEO at MerlinTPS. “Bluespec’s acute knowledge of leading software and hardware development stood out when we were looking for a partner for delivering the next iteration of our technology. With the need for supplemental GPS technology becoming more pressing by the day, our work together will help bring the platform and its multitude of capabilities to life quicker.”

By implementing Bluespec’s RISC-V processors in FPGAs, MerlinTPS can quickly modify, generate and load new code onto FPGAs. This approach allows for hardware reuse, avoiding the need to build custom hardware for each task.

However, MerlinTPS can easily make customizations to Bluespec’s RISC-V soft processor cores — adding custom instructions designed to accelerate specific workloads — when needed. In the future, MerlinTPS plans to add AI capabilities to the platform, so these acceleration capabilities are especially important.;




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