SiFive rolls out automotive RISC-V roadmap

SiFive rolls out automotive RISC-V roadmap

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

SiFive has rolled out a roadmap of RISC-V cores for automotive chips, backed by key European technology suppliers.

The company has a deal with Renesas and other major chip designers to use RISC-V cores in automotive driver assistance ADAS chips with support from IAR Systems, iSystem, Segger and Lauterbach for development tools, Solid Sands and Siemens Digital Industries Software as well as Wittenstein, Sysgo and Elektrobit for safety software.

It has launched automotive versions of the E6-A, X280-A, and S7-A cores for infotainment, cockpit, connectivity, ADAS, and electrification designs.

The E6-A series is aimed at real-time, 32-bit applications, from system control to hardware security modules (HSMs) and safety islands, and as standalone in microcontrollers that will ship by Q4 this year.

The S7-A is a 64-bit, high-performance real-time core for safety islands, requiring both low latency interrupt support and the same 64b memory space visibility as the main application CPUs in 2023.

The X280-A builds on the X280, selected for NASA’s next generation space processor, for sensors, sensor fusion, and other vector or ML intensive workloads in automotive applications.

The Automotive RISC-V family will also expand its portfolio in 2023 with a very high performance, out of order, application CPU (see roadmap).

“SiFive is combining the best RISC-V benefits in the only end-to-end portfolio designed to meet automotive needs today and long into the future,” said Patrick Little, CEO and Chairman of SiFive, which is recruiting for a design centre in Cambridge, UK. “We are seeing widespread interest in our new RISC-V automotive solutions and are working closely with several leading semiconductor companies and top-tier suppliers, who are turning to the flexibility of our highest performance cores in areas like safety-critical compute applications. Customers are now able to take advantage of our latest, most powerful cores to bring exciting innovations to consumers.”

Renesas is a key supplier to the automotive industry and signed deals with SiFIve last year to use RISC-V.

“Renesas has been closely collaborating with SiFive to bring the strong benefits of RISC-V to many of our products,” said Takeshi Kataoka, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Automotive Solution Business Unit at Renesas. “RISC-V continues to gain momentum around the world, and we plan to leverage SiFive’s portfolio of automotive RISC-V products in our future automotive SoC solutions to meet the exacting demands of these global customers. Partnering with an innovation leader like SiFive is a logical step that allows us to fuel our growth and meet our customer’s evolving requirements.”

“Segger has been supporting RISC-V since 2017, and we support the complete range of RV32 and RV64 cores from SiFive,” said Rolf Segger, founder of Segger. “The Segger Software Platform – including the Embedded Studio IDE, the J-Link debug probes, as well as our embOS RTOS and associated middleware – provides a comprehensive one-stop solution for complete product development with microcontrollers based on the RISC-V architecture. We are excited to be part of SiFive’s Automotive initiative, and we are looking forward to supporting the E6-A product series in the near future.”

Using a single instruction set architecture (ISA) across all product offerings – from safety islands to real-time products to highest performance ADAS and central zone compute – increases code portability and can greatly reduce cost and time-to-market, while RISC-V vector extensions bring enhanced machine learning and DSP capabilities.

Without proprietary lock-in, companies can license from multiple vendors and have more flexibility to design their own IP where needed, while maintaining software and ecosystem compatibility.

“SiFive is a leading provider in the RISC-V ecosystem and has a long-standing relationship with IAR Systems. We are equally both excited and committed to supporting their increased focus on the Automotive-vertical,” said Anders Holmberg, CTO at IAR Systems. “The combination of innovative Automotive Functional Safety IP from SiFive and the certified development tools from IAR Systems is a perfect match. Building on IAR Systems’ 20+ years of experience supporting Functional Safety use cases, and the tens of thousands of developers using our products, there is now a true better-together offering to accelerate innovation in automobiles.”

“As RISC-V becomes more popular, Wittenstein high integrity systems’ partnership with SiFive allows us to support customers with the most cutting-edge processors, said Stephen Ridley, Engineering Manager at WHIS. “We are excited to see the ever-expanding automotive portfolio of SiFive and look expectantly to what is to come. SiFive have made it possible to develop new hardware faster than ever before, a must in the evolving automotive market. SiFive’s automotive offerings are a great fit with SAFERTOS, our safety critical RTOS. Together they make a compelling package for automotive. WHIS and SiFive look forward to a continuation of our close collaboration in the future.

The RISC-V cores are accompanied by relevant safety packages that include documentation to accelerate the integration of the Safety Element out of Context (SEooC). Independent assessments of ASIL claims will support SiFive’s safety claims says the company.

With tailored levels of integrity for functional safety, SiFive Automotive products are also compliant with relevant cybersecurity standards, such as WP.29, R155, and ISO21434 including security from WorldGuard.

The cores are also supported by tools from Ashling, Cadence Design Systems, Synopsys, Green Hills Software and Linux software from Canonical.

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