Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Synopsys powers DARPA’s chip security engine research; electric trucks.


The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected Synopsys as the main contractor to provide SoC design tools and security IP for its Automatic Implementation of Secure Silicon (AISS) program. The four-year program’s goal to develop a design tool and IP ecosystem to automate adding security into integrated circuits. Synopsys will be working on a research team with Arm, Boeing, Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research at the University of Florida, Texas A&M University, UltraSoC, and University of California, San Diego, to devise a security engine. “The ultimate goal of the AISS program is to accelerate the timeline from architecture to security-hardened RTL from one year, to one week — and to do so at a substantially reduced cost,” said the DARPA program manager leading AISS, Mr. Serge Leef in a press release. The second research team of Northrop Grumman, IBM, University of Arkansas, and University of Florida will work on different approach to the security engine and other aspects of security in IC design. Both Synopsys and Grumman will use an Arm-based architecture in the security engine. Synopsys will then use existing and newly created tools to put the engine into an SoC.


The on-chip security engine concept at the center of DARPA’s Automatic Implementation of Secure Silicon (AISS) program. Source: DARPA

Siemens is acquiring UltraSoC, the UK-based analytics and instrumentation that specializes in embedding monitoring hardware into SoCs. Siemens will integrate UltraSoC’s into the Mentor, a Siemens business’s Tessent suite. “Siemens’ acquisition of UltraSoC means that for the first time our customers can access not just design-for-test, but a comprehensive ‘Design for Lifecycle Management’ solution for system-on-chips, including functional safety, security and optimization,” says Brady Benware, Tessent Vice President and General Manager, Siemens Digital Industries Software, in a press release.

IoT, IIoT, healthcare
Dialog Semiconductor’s acquisition of Adesto Technlogies, which makes semiconductors specifically for Industrial Internet of Things, cleared one hurdle. The U.S. government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which looks for security risks for the United States, cleared the deal. June 29th is the date the two companies now expect to close the deal.

Maxim Integrated released an Arm Cortex-M4F microcontroller, the MAX32670, which the company says is ultra-reliable, consumes much less power, in a smallest form factor for industrial, healthcare and IoT sensor applications.

Electric pickup trucks made an appearance this week. Lordstown Motors, the new electric vehicle company that took over an automotive assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, unveiled its electric pickup, the Endurance in a splashy event with public officials. The truck will be available in the summer of 2021 for fleet customers. Rivian Automotive released an eye-candy video of testing its electric truck the R1T in a desert proving ground. The truck will go 400 miles when it comes out in 2022. This week Ford unveiled its hybrid 2021 F150 truck with a freeway self-driving feature. Ford’s electric F150 truck, using Rivian’s skateboard platform, will come out in a few years, with a range of over 300 miles.

Amazon will acquire Zoox, a self-driving robotaxi start up, for $1 billion according a widely quoted article from The Information.  Amazon says it wants to get into the ride-hailing business with self-driving cars, but it is not clear. what specific plans Amazon has for the Zoox technology.

As the sponsor of the INDY Autonomous Challenge, ANSYS is providing students with free access to its tools, the ANSYS Autonomy suite. Students will program modified Dallara racecars for an autonomous race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 23, 2021. The prize is $1.5 million. The race sponsors, Energy Systems Network (ESN) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), expect speeds during the race will top 200 mph.

Powered by Arm, the Fugaku supercomputer, developed jointly by RIKEN and Fujitsu Limited, is now the top supercomputer on the TOP500 list, announced at International Supercomputing Conference (ISC).

People & Companies
Chip monitoring company proteanTecs joined the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA).

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Article updated June 26, 11:58am PT.

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