A RISC-V fully European platform for space

December 03, 2019 //By Julien Happich
European platform
Officially launched in October, the Horizon 2020 European project De-RISC (Dependable Real-time Infrastructure for Safety-critical Computer) has gathered an international consortium to develop a hardware and software platform based around the RISC-V ISA for the space and aviation market.

Combining a multicore system-on-chip by leading space solutions provider Cobham Gaisler with fentISS’ space-qualified XtratuM hypervisor, De-RISC will create a market-ready platform to power future space and aeronautical applications with made-in-Europe technology.

Thanks to Barcelona Supercomputing Center’s proven multicore interference mitigation techniques, the platform will offer high-performance operation with dramatically reduced interference. Meanwhile, Thales, one of the strongest players in the space and aviation market worldwide, will test the platform on real aerospace applications.

‘With the first RISC-V based, fully European platform for space, De-RISC will guarantee access to made-in-Europe technology for aerospace applications, thus contributing to the “Technologies for European non-dependence and competitiveness” programme in these strategic markets,’ explains Paco Gomez Molinero, chief executive officer of fentISS and coordinator of the De-RISC project.

The use of RISC-V will also help to future-proof the platform, thanks to an ever-increasing support for the open-source instruction set architecture (ISA), at a time when the proprietary PowerPC and SPARC architectures traditionally used in aviation and space systems are experiencing a loss of momentum. As a result, the space industry is not able to leverage software from the commercial domains, fuelling a need to shift to architectures present in higher volume commercial markets. The final platform will be portable to other architectures, and it will also provide superior fault tolerance.

De-RISC is a 30-month Innovation Action partially funded by the European Commission, which launched with a budget of € 3,444,625.


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