Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

U,S, $100 B tech proposal; TensorFlow in DesignWare ARCs; 5G comment period.


An effort to fund U.S. science and technology initiatives with at least $100 billion is getting a thumbs up from the SIA (Semiconductor Industry Association). The Endless Frontier Act —  a bipartisan, bicameral bill introduced on Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives — will invest money into semiconductor research and development and other related fields such as material science, quantum computing, AI, robotics, automation, cybersecurity, via technology hubs. The act proposes to rename the National Science Foundation as the National Science and Technology Foundation and to establish a technology directorate. The job of the technology director will be to strengthen the U.S. leadership in key technologies through research, improving education, and aiming at national goals.

Synopsys launched quick start kits, called QuickStart Implementation Kits (QIKs), for Arm’s latest processor IP Cortex-A78 CPU, Mali-G78 GPU, and Cortex-X1 CPU. The QIKs, available today, help designers hit PPA (power, performance, and area) targets. Synopsys reports that early adopters designing mobile, laptops and computers with Cortex-A78 or X1 CPUs or Mali G-78 GPU have had successful SoC tapeouts already using Synopsys Fusion Design Platform.

Cadence has also developed a digital full flow kit, the Rapid Adoption Kit (RAK), to optimize PPA for Arm Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1 CPUs at 7nm and 5nm nodes.

Smart infrastructure
Lidar is being tested as an option for measure snowpack — which is California’s main water supply. NASA and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) have awarded Quantum Spatial, Inc. a total of $3 million to provide remote sensing services in the Western United States. Specifically, the company will fly over the snowpack and collect airborne lidar and hyperspectral data on peak snowpack versus no snowpack. The data will be used in NASA’s SnowEx 2020, an effort to find what combination of sensors will give the best insights into the snowpack’s depth, surface temperature, cover, and surface conditions. Also part of its contract with California’s DWR, Quantum Spatial is analyzing 16,000 square miles of urban residential areas in California to help water districts determine, down to the plot level, what areas are irrigated and irrigable. The DWR hopes to combine that data with climate data, to “provide the basis for fair and equitable water allocations to individual districts,” according to a press release.

Edge, AI, machine learning
Synopsys’ DSP-enabled DesignWare ARC EM and HS processors IP now support TensorFlow Lite for Microcontrollers. The low-power resource constrained ARC processors also come with access to embArc.org’s machine learning library.

Automotive security
The security vulnerabilities of the automotive CAN bus is no secret. UltraSoC and Canis Labs are now working together to secure the controller area network (CAN) bus, which often connects various safety-critical systems in a vehicle such as brakes, steering, and engine. According to a press release, two companies are combining some of their products — UltraSoC’s IP for detection and mitigation of cyber threats and Canis Labs’ CAN-HG technology to enable designers to design the security into hardware, have a larger payload and includes bus guardian security features, and has the added benefit of being able to carry payloads twelve times larger than standard CAN frames. The main issues with connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) are detecting intrusions.

In this video, learn about how understanding the data coming from automotive chips can help diagnose reliability issues. Also this new video talks about a version of in-circuit monitoring of high bandwidth memory.

Panasonic is using Synopsys’ Custom Design Platform and as its “EDA partner to help us accelerate our spatial sensing solution and battery sensing solution for automotive and industrial market,” said Hiroyuki Tsujikawa, director at Panasonic Semiconductor Solutions Co., Ltd., in a press release.

In the UK, a track of regular roads — 300 kilometers of West Midlands roads —is being set aside to test autonomous vehicles. The project, called the Midlands Future Mobility test environment, gives autonomous vehicle testers the chance to test on rural, urban, suburban and highway roadbeds, in regular traffic.

5G security
To fulfill a requirement in a new U.S. law on 5G security, the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration is calling for public comments on the new policy. The U.S. White House and Department of Defense want to outlaw some suspicious parts in 5G supply chain, but the effort might be better spent developing innovations that protect unsafe systems, according to an article in NextGov.

The city of Stockholm will have 5G service through Telia, the Swedish telecom company, using its existing 700MHz spectrum, boosted by LTE and New Radio (NR) carrier aggregation and using Ericsson Radio Access Network (RAN) products.

Qualcomm launched Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6, networking platforms that work in three frequency bands simultaneously — 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz. The Networking Pro Series Platforms supports 2,000 simultaneous users and up to a 16-Stream Wi-Fi 6E configuration, depending on which of the four configurations is used.

Mellanox, Nvidia’s networking business unit, is using Synopsys’ DesignWare DDR5/4 PHY IP for memory in its InfiniBand networking chips. The Infiniband chips targets high-performance computing and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

NXP Semiconductors
shareholders officially elected Kurt Sievers as chief executive officer.

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