Week In Review: IoT, Security, Auto

SiFive’s RISC-V for makers; AWS’s Graviton2; Synopsys’ software integrity


Internet of Things
SiFive is bringing RISC-V to IoT makers and university developers through the RISC-V-based SiFive Learn Initiative, an open-source learning package that can be used to create a low-cost RISC-V hardware compatible with AWS IoT Core. The development platform SiFive Learn Inventor has a software package and education enablement course. It includes:
The programmable SiFive Learn Inventor includes SiFive FE310 Processor with 150 Mhz clock speed, Bluetooth + Wi-Fi, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a temperature sensor, a compass, an ambient light sensor, and a 6X8 display lights with 16M colors. SiFive also produces a board called SiFive Learn Inventor board, is available for preorder to use with the Inventor package.

Swissbit has officially opened its electronics production facility in Berlin. Swissbit specializes in providing data-storage and security for industrial applications and the Internet of Things (IoT). According to a press release, the plant has been producing memory and security modules for industrial use since October 2019. It produces the latest generation flash memory and security products for embedded IoT applications, including memory modules with integrated chips for authentication and data encryption. Besides the many industrial, automotive and IoT applications, the Swissbit products may be used in counterfeit protection for cash registers, which becomes mandatory in Germany in 2020.

SecureRF is changing its name to Veridify Security Inc. The company says the new name reflects an expanding role in securing the industrial IoT, automotive, smart building, device management and secure supply chain markets. Because IoT devices are now running on 32, 16, and 8-bit processors, the company has outgrown its old name, which derives from its work to secure very low-resource radio frequency (RF) devices and sensors, including BLE and NFC. The company, however, will continue to serve the low-resource RF market.

Advanced device networking hardware provider Perle Systems has released a line of IRG5000 Industrial LTE Routers with ruggedized hardware and extensive connectivity options. Certified for operation on 33 LTE bands internationally, with speeds up to 600 Mbps downlink and 150 Mbps uplink, Perle IRG5000 Industrial Routers solve connectivity challenges in a wide variety of M2M and IIoT applications.

OneSpin’s Nicolae Tusinschi is speaking about verifying RISC-V SoCs at the RISC-V Summit in San Jose, CA next week, and Sven Beyer, Product Manager Design Verification, is presenting “Pre-Silicon Detection of Hardware Trojans and Security Vulnerabilities in RISC-V Cores” in the Poster Gallery on Exhibit Floor.

Researchers have gotten a look inside the Android banking “Geost” botnet, which targets Russian citizens. The researchers from Czech Technical University in Prague, UNCUYO University, and Avast Software could see the botnet chat conversations, according to Dark Reading.

Synopsys’ revenue rose 7.7% in 2019 compared with 2018. Revenue for Q4-2019 was $851.1 million and $3.361 billion for 2019. The Software Integrity Group, which makes tools that test software code for security vulnerabilities and quality issues, achieved profitability and grew 19%. Synopsys entered this market in 2014 and by 2018 had acquired several companies, such Coverity and Black Duck Software, Inc., that have been integrated into Synopsys. In 2019, the Software Integrity Group delivered $335 million in revenue—10% of Synopsys revenue and achieving approximately 10% operating margin. “Although orders were a bit softer than planned, we outpaced the market with 19% growth,” said Aart de Geus, chairman and co-CEO of Synopsys, in a webcast. In 2020, the plan is to scale up the business to $0.5 billion. Expand Polaris, cloud-based platform, and increase consulting. Synopsys “expects 15% to 20 % growth in software over the next couple of years, as the market evolves,” said de Geus.

Huawei is taking the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to court in the United States to overturn the FCC Universal Service Fund rule that no federal funds can be used to buy Huawei parts. The company filed suit in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. “Banning a company like Huawei, just because we started in China—this does not solve cyber security challenges,” Huawei’s Chief Legal Officer Dr. Song Liuping said in a statement.

ANSYS reports that the frictionless braking systems company Telma cut down the number of prototypes it had to use during the validation of three new series of retarders using ANSYS’ high-fidelity multiphysics simulation. Retarders, which are braking systems that use electromagnetic induction, are used in heavy vehicles, mining applications, wind turbines and elevators to dissipate most of the large amounts of energy produced during deceleration, according to a press release. Telma reports that the prototypes required for validation decreased from 10 to one over the course of a decade.

Daimler has started pilot testing of self-driving Mercedes taxis in the U.S., with a fleet of approximately 30 vehicles in California, according to Automotive News.

Moortec announced that Uhnder’s new automotive radar-on-chip (RoC) is using Moortec’s embedded monitoring subsystem—an in-chip monitoring IP—to optimize the performance and reliability of the digitally modulated automotive RoC. The chip, announced in September 2019 months after the Austin, Texas-based startup Uhnder came out of stealth mode, uses high contrast resolution (HCR) technology. Uhnder’s chip is produced on a 28nm RF process with a fast DAC and ADC, fixed-function configurable pipelines, and a CPU subsystem that uses DSPs and a variety of Arm cores.

General Motors (GM) and South Korea’s LG Chem announced a joint venture to build a battery cell factory near Lordstown, Ohio, to produce batteries cells for electric vehicles. Ground breaking for the factory will be in 2020. The battery plant will have an annual capacity of 30+ gigawatt hours and will employ 1,100 people, according to a press release. Last year GM also invested $28 million in its battery lab in Warren, Michigan.

Mobility of a sort: Nvidia wrote a blog about Caper, a maker of automated shopping carts, to solve their generation’s distaste for waiting in line to pay at the supermarket.

5G, Edge, Cloud, Data Centers
Arm announced its Neoverse-based N1 is in AWS’s Graviton2 processor this week, which will to run new instances in the AWS general purpose (M), compute optimized (C), and memory optimized (R) portfolios. The M6g Graviton2-based instances for AWS general purpose is available now for testing and other instances are expected in 2020.

In addition to announcing Cadence’s plans to acquire NI’s AWR Corporation, Cadence and National Instruments announced that they entered an agreement to work on design-to-test flows for analog/mixed-signal and RF ICs and modules, using data culled both Cadence’s and NI’s design, validation, test and production flows. Although the companies have collaborated since 2018 to improve the development and testing of wireless, automotive and mobile ICs and modules, “the rapid product expansion in the wireless, consumer, automotive, and aerospace and defense market segments calls for an accelerated pace of system innovation and collaboration,” said Lip Bu Tan, chief executive officer at Cadence, in a press release. The companies plan to jointly develop technology, flows, and IP to streamline electronics development, such as building reusable test IP, creating a common, connected flow for re-use of mixed-signal testbenches and stimulus from pre-silicon design verification to post-silicon validation and production test. Cadence’s Virtuoso and Spectre platforms will be used in the analog, mixed-signal and RF integrations, along with physical data from NI’s LabVIEW and PXI modular instrumentation systems. “By working even more closely with NI on this strategic alliance, we aim to deliver an integrated flow from pre-silicon mixed-signal design and verification to post-silicon validation and test, shortening the overall time to electronic product creation,” said Tan.

Qualcomm Technologies announced it has a 5G-ready extended reality (XR) platform based on Snapdragon. Called the Snapdragon XR2 Platform, the chip can be used in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) applications. It includes a GPU for image processing, a DSP for audio processing, AI-informed image improvements, and an ability to use 5G to split processing between a device and edge cloud to present photorealistic and high-quality experiences without cords or being confined to any room.

Syntiant and Infineon announced a partnership that for voice user interface (VUI) in electronic devices that developers can use to create custom, always-on voice user interfaces with exact voice pick-up from long-distance, with whispered speech or in noisy environments. Syntiant, an AI chip company putting machine learning on edge devices, is combining its microwatt-power Neural Decision Processors (NDPs) with Infineon’s XENSIV MEMS microphones to deliver voice commands to edge applications. The combination is capable of ultra-low power consumption and it is not tethered to cloud connectivity.

AWS Outposts hardware are now available for data centers as a straightforward, compact way to add secure AI, graphics applications and AWS infrastructure to data centers. The AWS Outposts, powered by NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs, bring cloud-based Amazon EC2 G4 instances used in AI and graphics applications inside data centers. Amazon EC2 G4 also includes AWS custom Intel Cascade Lake CPUs, up to 100 Gbps of networking throughput, and up to 1.8 TB of local NVMe storage. According to Amazon: “G4 instances are optimized for machine learning application deployments (inference), such as image classification, object detection, recommendation engines, automated speech recognition, and language translation that need access to low level GPU software libraries. These instances are also cost-effective solutions for graphics-intensive applications, such as remote graphics workstations, video transcoding and game streaming in the cloud.”

The U.S. Department of Defense is calling for industry input on 5G technology development and 5G dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS). The Department of Defense issued a special notice Friday, Nov. 29, calling for industry input on 5G technology development. The notice titled “Intent to Announce—Request for Prototype Proposals (RPPs) for Smart Warehouse and Asset Management and 5G Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS)” is posted online.

Cadence is acquiring AWR, the high-frequency RF EDA software technology, from NI, for $160 million.

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