In the automotive space you can’t even get out of the starting gate without Functional Safety (FS). All electronic system that go into cars must have ISO 26262 certification. However, this is not something you slap on after the fact. From the ground up the requirements for ISO 26262 must be considered and the proper processes must be employed. Nowhere is this truer than for the embedded processors used in so many automotive systems. Of course, not all of these systems need to meet the requirements for ASIL-D – where failure can lead to death or injury. Systems such as door locks still need to meet the less stringent requirements, such as ASIL-B for instance.
Embedded processors pose a challenge because they really represent a constellation of deliverables that all must adhere to the ISO 26262 process. Each physical piece, such as interface blocks, memory, interrupt units and timers, Instruction execution units, etc. must be built specifically with ISO 26262 compliance in mind. Additionally, the compilers and runtime libraries must also have been built for FS. Even the test systems implemented in the silicon must be able to support FS requirements. Automobile applications need several different types of processors, each optimized for their specific use. A processor used to provide ADAS is a different beast than the one needed to operate the door locks. This means that it is not enough to just have a single processor when building automotive systems.
To make the entire process easier, Synopsys has just announced ARC processor IP that was designed for FS. They are offering ASIL-B and ASIL-D versions of three different families of processors. The EM22FS will be available for systems requiring low power. Power is always an issue in the automotive environment because of battery life, cooling and reliability issues. For higher performance systems, Synopsys will have the HS4xFS Processor Family. Lastly for systems that require vision processing or machine learning capabilities, they are announcing the EV7xFS Embedded Vision Processors. This is a well-rounded set of processors that should facilitate their customers’ design needs.
For use cases that do not call for ASIL-D, and where ASIL-B will suffice, the dual core processors can be uncoupled from lockstep operation to provide two independent processors for increased throughput. The HS4xFS processors come in single, dual or quad core configurations. With quad core performance, the processors can be used for high performance safety applications such as vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) or vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication.
As part of this, the FS processors will be fully supported by the DesignWare ARC MetaWare Development Toolkit for Safety. This provides an ASIL-D certified compiler and collateral. Synopsys provides a safety manual and safety guide, to help developers of safety-critical systems fulfill the requirements of the ISO 26262 standard and prepare for compliance testing. The toolkit is a complete solution for development, debugging and optimization of system software for automotive embedded systems. The vision processors are supported by a specialized development toolkit also targeted at FS.
Processors will increasingly be used in automobiles, and safety will always be the topmost requirement. System developers want to leverage their domain expertise and not reinvent the wheel. Fortunately, Synopsys has been investing in both ARC processor IP and in functional safety for years. This is key enabling technology for solutions in this space. More information regarding ARC Functional Safety Processor IP can be found on the Synopsys Website.