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European RISC-V chip for IoT development kit

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty


The OpenHW Group has launched an open-source RISC-V Development Kit based around the European CORE-V microcontroller and an open printed circuit board (PCB) design that supports Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the Internet of Things (IoT)

The development kit includes the CORE-V software developer kit (SDK) with full-featured Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) and links to AWS IoT ExpressLink. This is a new service that powers a range of hardware modules and includes AWS-validated software that securely connects devices to the cloud.

The DevKit is aimed at software development for embedded, internet-of-things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven applications and is launched today at the Embedded World exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany.

The CORE-V MCU is based on the open-source 32bit CV32E40P embedded-class RISC-V processor. This has a four-stage, in-line pipeline that implements the RV32IM[F]C RISC-V instruction extensions and is based on the PULP (Parallel Ultra Low Power) Platform RI5CY core developed at the Integrated Systems Laboratory (IIS) of ETHZ in Switzerland and the Energy-efficient Embedded Systems (EEES) group of the University of Bologna.

The chip is built in GlobalFoundries 22FDX FD SOI low power process technology. Design and verification of the CV32E40P processor at the heart of the CORE-V MCU involved key contributions from Imperas, Siemens EDA, SiLabs and many others, building on the original design from ETHZ. Digital integration and back-end design of the CORE-V MCU was handled by QuickLogic and CMC Microsystems.

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The microcontroller also includes QuickLogic’s eFPGA, designed to accelerate AI/ machine learning (ML) and other computationally intensive workloads from the CV32E40P processor.

“The enormous potential of IoT applications requires new ways of thinking about design, and the open-source community is delivering hardware, software and development tools to accelerate innovation,” said Rick O’Connor, President and CEO, OpenHW Group. “It’s truly inspiring to see such a cohesive global collaborative engineering effort to develop open-source building blocks enabling embedded MCU designs.”

The dev kit is being used by members of the OpenHW group to emulate an array of weather station sensors located throughout the exhibit hall as well as various locations around the world. The demo, involving more than a dozen kits on various exhibition stands, highlights interconnection of IoT sensors and application to AWS, with local temperature readings on the CORE-V MCU DevKit NexysA7 board.

The development of the DevKit SDK was led by Ashling, which is also supplying RISC-V software development tools for MIPS and Intel.

The OpenHW SDK contains an IDE, Debugger, GCC compiler (supplied by Embecosm), Amazon’s FreeRTOS real-time OS and AWS IoT ExpressLink connectivity via Espressif’s RISC-V-based WiFi radio. The project highlights the open-source collaborative development of industry-grade CORE-V processor IP with supporting hardware and software by a wide spectrum of members within the OpenHW community.

Embecosm in the UK is leading OpenHW SW Task Group projects including GCC compiler tools for the CORE-V cores and MCU while Ashling has led the development of the CORE-V SDK based on the Eclipse IDE, OpenOCD for debug and example programs.

Imperas, also UK-based, has released a free simulator for the CORE-V MCU. The riscvOVPsimCOREV is based on the Imperas RISC-V reference models used in the verification of CV32E40P, as a starting point for software development tasks.

The CORE-V MCU DevKit early access campaign manufacturing and shipping is being coordinated by GroupGets. Early access CORE-V MCU DevKit quantities are limited and can be reserved here.

The OpenHW Group is based in Canada and provides an infrastructure for hosting high quality open-source HW developments and includes a Cores Task Group to develop the open-source IP for the CORE-V family of open-source RISC-V processors.

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