ARM reveals R52 core for ‘highest functional safety standards’

September 22, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
ARM reveals R52 core for ‘highest functional safety standards’
ARM has headlined its latest processor core IP announcement as “enabling autonomous vehicles” but this is “today’s spin” on a core with safety features that are applicable across automotive, medical and industrial sectors. Cortex-R52, based on the ARMv8-R architecture, has been designed to address functional safety in systems that must comply with ISO 26262 ASIL D and IEC 61508 SIL 3, in the automotive and industrial markets.

The core will, ARM says, have the real-time performance needed for next generation autonomous systems, while simplifying safety certification of automotive, industrial and medical applications, such 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 employs 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.

ARM Fast Models and Cycle Models are available for software partners to get access to the Cortex-R52 early in the design process. The Cortex-R52 claims a 35% performance uplift compared to the Cortex-R5, which has been deployed in a range of safety applications. The R52 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 optimizing compiler solutions for the Cortex-R52.

“The Cortex-R52 ... was designed from the ground up to address functional safety,” said James McNiven, general manager for CPU and media processing groups, ARM, “...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.”

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