Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

Arm to open, simplify IoT dev; one town’s C-V2X; 5G tests; TSMC automotive advanced node.


Pervasive computing — IoT, edge, cloud, data center, and back
To simplify IoT workflows, Arm announced that it is putting parts of its Common Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) into an open project called Open-CMSIS-Pack. The CMSIS is a vendor-independent abstraction layer for MCUs, especially Arm Cortex-M processors, that makes it possible for developers to deal with software incompatibility among parts, especially for components reuse. The diversity of parts used in IoT is very high. The CMSIS-PACK is the packaging technology that developers use to integrate of drivers, middleware, and other software components across multiple Arm-based devices. As part of the open initiative, the Linaro IoT and Embedded Group will work on a standard for software component packaging and related foundation tools for validation, distribution, integration, management, and maintenance. Also, Arm announced its Keil Studio Cloud is moving into an open beta phase — it is the first component in a suite of Keil tools that Arm is developing. The cloud-hosted platform will have direct Git integration and modern CI workflows for rapid IoT device development.

Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom, and other partners say they have made the first 5G voice over new radio (VoNR) call on an end-to-end multivendor network, in a demo in Deutsche Telekom’s innovation lab in Warsaw, Poland.

The U.S. city of Peachtree Corners, Georgia will have a smart city demo running with real-world connected vehicle technology and infrastructure. The city collaborated with Qualcomm and Jacobs, a project management firm, on a cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) system that will have roadside units (RSUs) equipped with Qualcomm’s C-V2X technology. The digital road Peachtree Corners has been experimenting with the smart city infrastructure and has a Curiosity Lab where developers and companies work together on deploying smart connected technologies. The C-V2X will help with traffic flow and safety.

TSMC debuted the N6RF process for 5G radio frequency (RF) and WiFi 6/6e solutions. According to a press release, “N6RF transistors achieve more than 16% higher performance over the prior generation of RF technology at 16nm. Additionally, N6RF supports significant power and area reduction for 5G RF transceivers for both sub-6 gigahertz and millimeter wave spectrum bands without compromising performance, features and battery life offered to consumers. TSMC N6RF will also enhance WiFi 6/6e performance and power efficiency.”

Cadence shared an example of how its verification and digital tools helped AI-chip company EdgeCortix speed up its chip design and save power.

Automotive & transportation
TSMC unveiled N5A process for automotive applications that are compute intensive, such as AI-enabled driver assistance and the digitization of vehicle cockpits. According a press release, “N5A brings the same technology used in supercomputers today to vehicles, packing the performance, power efficiency, and logic density of N5 while meeting the stringent quality and reliability requirements of AEC-Q100 Grade 2 as well as other automotive safety and quality standards.” TSMC plans to make N5A available in third quarter of 2022.”

Foxconn Technology Group (Hon Hai) and Thailand’s PTT Public Company Limited are forming a joint venture to develop and manufacture electric vehicles. The JV will also create an entire value chain of services that an automotive company can access to produce its cars in Thailand.

NXP ramped its S32G2 vehicle network processors and the S32R294 radar processor into volume production on TSMC’s advanced 16 nanometer (nm) FinFET process technology. The network processor makes connections to the cloud possible for over-the-air updates and services, such as vehicle health management and usage-based insurance, says an NXP press release. The 16nm paves the way for future high-performance S32 processing platform TSMC 5nm.

NASA is going to Venus in two missions that will test the planet’s atmosphere, determine if Venus was ever Earth-like and had an ocean, and map the surface, the U.S. space agency announced.

United Airlines will buy 15 net-zero carbon supersonic airplanes from Boom Supersonic. Boom’s ‘Overture’ airliners are in development and testing. They are supposed to net-zero carbon and run on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at speeds of Mach 1.7. SAF has a similar chemistry to fossil-based fuels only SAF comes from sustainable feedstocks, according to Air BP. Sustainable feedstocks might include, according to Air BP, “cooking oil and other non-palm waste oils from animals or plants; solid waste from homes and businesses, such as packaging, paper, textiles, and food scraps that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration. Other potential sources include forestry waste, such as waste wood, and energy crops, including fast growing plants and algae.” SAF can reduce carbon emissions up to 80% “over the lifecycle of the fuel compared to traditional jet fuel it replaces,” according to Air BP.

Siemens Digital Industries Software’s Nucleus ReadyStart software for Arm-based devices now supports Arm Cortex processors and has enhanced the security and debug. Nucleus ReadyStart 4.1, which has the Nucleus real-time operating system  (RTOS) kern and tools, works with Siemens’ Embedded IoT Framework, a toolkit for developing resource-constrained embedded systems that need a real-time operating system.

Analyst firm Gartner released its Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Security Testing, which compares companies in the application security testing (AST) market. For the fifth consecutive year, Synopsys was named a leader in its ability to execute security and its completeness of vision.

Intel announced that some SKUs in the Intel Atom x6000E series of processors are now certified on IEC61508 SIL2 and ISO13849, which makes the chip certified for functional safety (FuSa). Industrial applications, such as robotics, avionics, and autonomous driving, must adhere to strict FuSa standards. TÜV SÜD was the certification agency.

People, companies
Siemens EDA’s Calibre nmPlatform IC design, verification, and manufacturing tools and Analog FastSPICE platform are now qualified for TSMC’s advanced N3 and N4 processes. The Analog FastSPICE platform verifies nanometer analog, radio frequency (RF), mixed-signal, memory, and custom digital circuits. Certified for both N3 and N4 are Calibre nmDRC software, SmartFill, PERC software, and nmLVS software. Also certified for N3 is Calibre xACT.

Semiconductor foundry United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. UMC is a member of the Climate Group’s RE100, an initiative to switch businesses to renewable energy. RE100 has over 300 member companies, including TSMC, Arm, Intel, Advantest, Apple, Google, Microsoft. UMC is the second foundry in the initiative, after TSMC, which committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity across its entire global operations by 2050. UMC is working with its suppliers to cut their carbon emissions by 20% and consume renewable energy as 20% of total power consumption by 2030 in UMC supply chain. UMC has over 500 suppliers, including Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL). “Climate change is the single biggest threat to our planet’s sustainability, said SC Chien, UMC co-president and chief sustainability officer, in a press release. “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we still make efforts to fight climate change, which is why we are able to unveil our pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 just ahead of World Environment Day on June 5. As a global citizen, we are doing our part to build sustainable living for mankind.”

The microprocessor is 50 years old now. The first microprocessor, Intel’s 4004, was released in 1971. Check out Lam Research’s anniversary look at the 4004.

Vtool is calling for students interested in learning about ASIC design and verification in a paid, three-month training program. The company is looking for 4th-year and masters students in computer science or electronics, from Belgrade, Niš, Novi Sad, and Čačak.


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