Here’s my weekly snapshot of some of the embedded news that has come through our inbox, covering products, funding, events and people news.
One of the main pieces of news that is pertinent to embedded systems developers is that inventor and entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair, a true visionary, died this week. You can read my tribute to him here.
In other news, you’ll see that ADLINK Technology launched an 80-core Arm based COM-HPC server type module which brings the Ampere Altra systems on chip (SoCs) into the embedded systems market. This was also part of a collaboration with Arm, to offer a development platform for the new software architecture announced by Arm, called SOAFEE for enabling software defined cars.
Other articles include a look at Thread vs Bluetooth and drawing an analogy with the VHS vs Betamax battle of the 1980s, plus a look at redefining firmware security.
News & Products
NXP Semiconductor announced it is the first semiconductor supplier to be certified by TÜV SÜD to comply with the latest automotive cybersecurity standard ISO/SAE 21434. The new automotive cybersecurity standard aims to provide connected vehicles with robust protection from malicious cyberattacks. The standard requires OEMs and their supply chains to apply a security-by-design approach to their components, servers, and processes to reduce the risk of being vulnerable to attacks at any point in the vehicle lifetime, from the initial concept and design phases to end of life. More details about why the new standard is important can be found here.
Infineon Technologies announced it has achieved the Arm Platform Security Architecture (PSA) Level 2 certification for the PSoC™ 64 microcontrollers (MCUs) standard secure family of devices. Infineon said its PSoC 64 secured MCUs were one of the first Arm Cortex-M processors to be certified as PSA Level 1-compliant. With the new PSA Level 2 certification, developers of IoT systems have an extended level of trust when they use the MCUs, which are equipped with the Arm PSA holistic set of threat models, security analyses, hardware and firmware architecture specifications.
STMicroelectronics said its STM32Cube ecosystem has been extended to support STM32WB wireless MCUs. The development package is loaded with many examples and brings a full set of peripheral drivers (HAL and LL), all the necessary radio stacks including Bluetooth 5.2, Zigbee 3.0, OpenThread v1.1 and 802.15.4 MAC for proprietary protocols, as well as example implementations of several concurrency models (static and/or dynamic) for these stacks. Software tools like STM32CubeMX and STM32CubeIDE offer direct support of the radio stacks in their GUI for easy access and configuration.
Cadence unveiled its Tensilica AI platform for accelerating AI SoC development, including three supporting product families optimized for varying data and on-device AI requirements. A new companion AI neural network engine (NNE) consumes 80% less energy per inference and delivers more than 4X TOPS/W, while neural network accelerators (NNAs) deliver flagship AI performance and energy efficiency in a turnkey solution. Targeting intelligent sensor, IoT audio, mobile vision/voice AI, IoT vision and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) applications, the new AI platform delivers optimal power, performance and area (PPA) and scalability with a common software platform.
Siemens Digital Industries Software announced that partner GlobalFoundries (GF) has certified Siemens’ Aprisa place-and-route solution for GF’s 22FDX platform. The companies collaborated to incorporate Aprisa enablement technology into GF’s process design kits (PDKs) to help mutual customers leverage the advantages of the 22FDX platform. Featuring ‘best-in-class’ performance and power consumption, GF’s 22FDX platform is ideal for high-volume devices that require minimal idle power and low leakage, at design costs in line with those of 28nm chips. Aprisa offers complete gate-level-to-GDSII hierarchical and block level physical implementation solutions. Siemens acquired Aprisa from Avatar Integrated Systems in August 2020.
Silicon Labs made a series of announcements from its IoT Works With conference. It launched new SoCs delivering sub-GHz wireless solutions combining long-range RF and energy efficiency with certified Arm PSA Level 3 security. This provides developers with flexible, multiprotocol sub-GHz connectivity options supporting a wide range of modulation schemes and advanced wireless technologies, including Amazon Sidewalk mioty, Wireless M-Bus, Z-Wave and proprietary IoT networks. It also launched new security offerings with a first-of-its-kind custom part manufacturing service (CPMS) for wireless SoCs and modules. This includes SDK support services for up to 10 years, covering an IoT product’s entire lifecycle. And finally, its new Unify SDK provides a breakthrough in IoT wireless connectivity, with design once, support all capability; this eases wireless protocol interoperability across ecosystems with common building blocks for gateways, wireless APs and IoT end products.
Renesas and OmniVision Technologies introduced an integrated reference design for a high-definition automotive camera system. It features Renesas’ recently introduced automotive HD link (AHL) technology that transmits high-definition video over low-cost cables and connectors. The AHL components in the design pair with OmniVision’s OX01F10 1.3MP SoC which integrates a high performance 3.0 micron image sensor and an advanced image signal processor (ISP) with OmniVision’s PureCel Plus technology for low noise. This addresses automotive rear-view camera (RVC) and surround view system (SVS) challenges of achieving a small form factor with excellent low-light performance, ultra-low power and reduced in single printed circuit board (PCB) designs.
Impulse Embedded has announced the RC300-CS, a fanless rugged embedded PC system, featuring MXM GPU targeting AIoT for railway and rolling stock applications. Using an Intel 9th generation desktop Core i7-9700TE processor and with the ability to be equipped with an Nvidia GeForce / Quadro MXM adapter, it allows installation of some of the latest MXM graphics modules for powerful edge inference capabilities. The system has also been certified to meet the various EU standards for use in railway and rolling stock applications, including EN50155 for electronics, EN45545 for fire, and EN61373 for shocks and vibrations.
Movellus has a new VP of growth in the form of industry veteran Matthew Raggett. Raggett has over 30 years of experience in semiconductor IP and EDA sales, including at NetSpeed Systems until its acquisition by Intel, and at CLK Design Automation. He was CEO of Analog Design Automation until its acquisition by Synopsys. He also worked at Cadence and Fairchild Semiconductor.
Elissa Murphy, a vice president of engineering at Google, has joined the board of GlobalFoundries as an independent director. She has over 25 years industry experience, which includes 13 years with Microsoft where she was part of the original team responsible for the company’s shift to the Cloud, leading to the creation of Azure.
Funding, emerging startups
Dutch AI semiconductor startup Axelera AI announced a seed investment round of $12 million, led by emerging technologies leader Bitfury and joined by global nanoelectronics R&D center imec and venture capital funds Innovation Industries and imec.xpand. The funding will support the company’s development of an industry-defining product powering AI applications at the edge. AI Fabrizio del Maffeo, CEO of Axelera, was previously vice president at AAEON, launching the UP Bridge The Gap reference design for Intel Movidius and Myriad X accelerators in IoT and AI projects funded on Kickstarter. Full story here.
The Things Conference, a key conference series for the LoRaWAN ecosystem, takes place virtually on 24 September 2021, with this edition covering logistics, using asset tracking, LR1110 LoRa Edge, LoRaWAN geolocation sensors and more. Details and tickets here.
Sensors Converge is happening at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, CA, on 21-23 September 2021, with the opening keynote on using sensors and AI to improve human health and address climate change. Details here.
The EE Times AI Everywhere Forum will have three tracks covering AI in the data center, AI at the edge and AI in the device, with keynotes from Ron Martino of NXP Semiconductors, Zach Shelby of Edge Impulse, and Mukesh Khare at IBM Research. Join the conference and panel discussions on 28-29 September 2021.