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ARMv8-R supports consolidation of embedded software code

Date: 23/10/2013
ARM has announced a new 32-bit architecture called ARMv8-R, which is more capable of supporting real-time requirements of embedded systems in automotive, industrial control, factory automation and such safety-priority applications.

On the increasing use of model-based automated code generation and a requirement to re-use and integrate code coming from different programming teams at different times, Chris Turner, Product Marketing Manager, Processor Division, ARM has commented in his blog at ARM website.

"The new ARMv8-R architecture permits this ‘consolidation’ of software onto a single processing platform whilst at the same time maintaining strict isolation between different tasks, applications and even Operating Systems, such that they cannot interfere with each other – some people refer to this as ‘sand-boxing’." Read the full article at http://blogs.arm.com

ARMv8-R instruction set enhancements are similar to those in the ARMv8-A applications architecture, except for some differences, which includes no support for 64-bit.

ARMv8-R architecture will be suitable for the rapidly-expanding number of safety-related applications in automotive and industrial control.

ARM has described the key innovation within the ARMv8-R architecture is the introduction of a ‘bare metal’ Hypervisor mode which enables programmers to combine different operating systems, applications and real-time tasks on a single processor whilst ensuring strict isolation between them. This facilitates software consolidation and re-use which will accelerate time-to-market and reduce development costs.

ARMv8-R architecture supports embedded programming techniques such as model-based automated code generation.

The automotive applications such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and Vehicle to Vehicle communications as well as factory automation applications and Human-Machine Interface are some of the examples mentioned by ARM for this architecture.

The example given by ARM is, a microcontroller incorporating an ARMv8-R processor could host Linux for graphical management and networking functions together with real-time operating system workloads such as motor control.

The ARMv8-R architecture also permits coexistence of both virtual memory and protected memory systems on the same processor enabling an Operating System using memory management, such as Linux, to be integrated with a Real Time Operating System. Ecosystem support for the ARMv8-R architecture is anticipated in a number of Operating System products including INTEGRITY from Green Hills Software, Nucleus from Mentor Graphics, and eT-Kernel from eSOL. These integrated hardware and software solutions will be capable of supporting stringent automotive and industrial interoperability and safety standards, including AUTOSAR, ISO 26262 and IEC 61508, says ARM.

Other ARMv8-R architecture features include:

- Improved memory protection scheme which substantially reduces context switching time

- ARM NEON advanced SIMD instructions for significantly improved image signal processing tasks

- Instructions carried over from the ARMv8-A architecture such as CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) for use in detecting the corruption of program code or data.

The DS-5 ARM tools and Fast Models already support the ARMv8-A architecture, and support for the ARMv8-R architecture will be available to lead partners Q3’14. In addition timed models, automotive simulation system level tools and mechanical and electronic modelling tools are being developed by EDA partners in advance of silicon.

FURTHER INFORMATION: A white paper containing details of the new architecture can be found here: www.arm.com/files/pdf/ARMv8R__Architecture_Oct13.pdf

"eSOL has been providing competitive solutions using eSOL's strong OS technology optimized for ARM processors, for many years, and we look forward to providing support for processors based on the new ARMv8-R architecture when they appear," said Hiroaki Kamikura, general manager, Embedded Products Division, eSOL. "We consider ourselves as one of the very few real-time OS-centered software vendors who has deep skills and knowledge both in automotive information and control systems, key markets to be addressed by the ARMv8-R architecture. We expect our eT-Kernel real-time OS and its dedicated IDE to be certified for ISO 26262 automotive functional safety standard in the second quarter in 2014."

"The evolution to support concurrent general-purpose and real-time operating systems is a significant development for ARM architecture and the ARM ecosystem,” said David Kleidermacher, chief technology officer, Green Hills Software. “The combination of Green Hills Software’s virtualization technology and ARMv8-R will provide a powerful foundation for next generation real-time and safety-critical electronic products."

“Mentor’s support of the ARMv8-R architecture will enable both ARM licensees and embedded developers to create innovative solutions for automotive, industrial, and safety-critical applications,” said Glenn Perry, General Manager of Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division. “Our mutual customers can make use of this innovative architecture ahead of silicon availability through virtual prototypes and also when ARMv8-R based devices are available with the small footprint, power-efficient Nucleus RTOS, Mentor Embedded Linux, virtualization technologies, AUTOSAR solutions and Sourcery CodeBench tools.”

“We look forward to providing VDKs (Virtualizer Development Kits) for ARMv8-R-based architecture designs to enable automotive and industrial developers to accelerate software development, system integration and fault testing for a broad range of applications,” said John Koeter, vice president of marketing for IP and systems at Synopsys. “By extending our VDK support, which already covers all existing ARMv7 and ARMv8-A architectures, to include the ARMv8-R architecture, Synopsys is enabling companies to start development earlier, improve developer productivity and mitigate development risks associated with the increasing software content and the need to ensure reliability through safety standards such as ISO 26262.”