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Date: 03/06/2022

Renesas to demo M85 powered AI-at-edge MCU at Embedded World 2022

After announcing of new processor core ARM Cortex M85 from ARM in the month of April 2022 , Renesas is the first semiconductor chipmaker to announce demonstration of fabricated Cortex-M85 RA microcontroller at popular MCU event Embedded World 2022 in Nuremburg Germany from June 21-24. ARM Cortex M85 features what it calls as Helium Technology, a vector computing at low power to handle audio/video streaming data/signal and any such data where AI/ML type processing can replace old style processing. This feature enables AI at edge at low power for industrial IoT application in smart factory.

Renesas said it has introduced the RA (Renesas Advanced) Family of Arm Cortex-M based 17 MCU groups encompassing well over 200 individual parts with in 30 months after its announcement.
Renesas supporting its customers with software ecosystem of partners in developing solutions for IoT, AI/ML, industrial automation, medical, building automation, home appliance and multiple other applications.

“As a lead partner with Arm, we are proud to be the first to demonstrate an MCU based on the high-performance Cortex-M85 processor, a clear example of the momentum that we have built in the Arm ecosystem,” said Roger Wendelken, Senior Vice President in Renesas’ IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit. “The RA family has enjoyed tremendous success in a very short time, demonstrating the core strengths that make Renesas an MCU powerhouse, including design expertise, legendary quality, and close collaboration with customers and partners in all markets and all geographies.”

“To continue to scale and grow, the next generation of IoT solutions demand ever-improving levels of performance, security and simplified development, and we have delivered this with the new Arm Cortex-M85,” said Dipti Vachani, senior vice president and general manager, Automotive and IoT Line of Business at Arm. “This demonstration of the first silicon based on our most secure and highest performance Cortex-M processor will showcase the new and exciting applications it will enable and further cements our ongoing close collaboration with Renesas.”

Arm Cortex-M85 processor features advanced DSP/ML capabilities in processing AI compute intensive applications at edge. Cortex-M85 with 6 CoreMark/MHz processing performance benchmark carries typical ARM M processor features such as low power deterministic operation, short interrupt response time. Cortex-M85 offers security functional blocks such as pointer authentication and branch target identification (PACBTI) architectural extension to protect against return oriented programming and jump oriented programming (JOP) security exploit attacks.

Renesas planned to release Arm Cortex-M85 RA MCUs in 2023. RA family MCUs designed to bridge the gap between MCUs and MPUs, so that they can compute complex AI applications consuming lower power and ease of use of an MCU. This expected to help Renesas' customers to reuse their code, software, and tools and reduce costs of migration to an MPU based system.

On security front, the new Cortex-M85 core based on Armv8-M architecture supports Arm TrustZone technology for protection of secure assets. Renesas also provide integrated cryptographic engine, immutable storage, key management, and tamper protection against DPA/SPA side-channel attacks. The Armv8-M architecture also brings Pointer Authentication/Branch Target Identification (PAC/BTI) security extension, a new architectural feature that provides enhanced mitigation from software attack threats and helps achieve PSA Certified Level 2 certification, says Renesas.

Renesas supporting coding part through its Flexible Software Package (FSP) to speed up application development, where it provides multiple RTOS, BSP, peripheral drivers, middleware, connectivity, networking and security stacks and reference software to build complex AI, motor control and graphics solutions. This chip users can integrate their own legacy code and choice of RTOS with FSP. FSP to ease migration of existing designs to the new RA devices.

Author: Srinivasa Reddy N
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