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ARM provides safety support to open automotive markets for Cortex-R5

Author: Steve Rogerson   Date: 2015-01-25

Arm has delivered a safety document set for its Cortex-R5 processor to drive its adoption in safety-critical applications, including in automotive, health and industrial. This is a step toward the cost-effective deployment of more technically advanced systems across these multiple sectors.

The Cortex-R5 is the first in a range of Arm processors to come with a safety document set that semiconductor companies can use to demonstrate compliance with new functional safety standards.

"Functional safety is increasingly important for many markets, including automotive, medical and industrial applications, and Arm is committed to supporting partners wishing to pursue these rapidly expanding markets,” said Noel Hurley, general manager of Arm’s CPU group.

The package includes a safety manual describing in detail the processor’s fault detection and control features and information about integration aspects in silicon partners’ device implementations. There are also failure modes and effects analysis with a qualitative analysis of failure modes within the processor logic, failure effects on the processor’s behaviour, and an example of quantitative hardware metrics.

A development interface report makes clear how the silicon partners’ engineers should manage the Arm deliverables and what to expect from them. Silicon partners can use all this information to support their design concepts and decisions, as a basis for producing their own safety package covering the entirety of their devices, and to support functional safety assessments of their devices.

"The Cortex-R5 processor has a rich set of fault detection and control features and the addition of generic safety documentation means developers can now use it across the broadest range of safety applications,” said Hurley. “Arm will be supporting other processors from our diverse product portfolio in a similar way.”

System developers now have assurance that the Cortex-R5 can be used in safety-related applications as the SoC developers have access to additional information required for demonstrating functional safety. For automotive applications such as powertrain and adas, Cortex R5-based designs with ISO 26262 enables a reduction in the overall quantity of components. This should result in faster design cycles and lower manufacturing and overall system costs as well as reduced power consumption and vehicle emissions.

"We are pleased about Arm’s growing investment in the area of functional safety as it will greatly enhance and strengthen the Cortex-R5 processor platform,” said Takeshi Fuse, senior vice president for automotive at Spansion. "We welcome further and pervasive adoption of Cortex-R5 architecture in the automotive industry.”

Industrial safety-related systems need to demonstrate compliance with IEC 61508, and the Cortex-R5 safety document package supports this qualification. The generic safety documentation also enables it to be applied to many other markets, including medical, which is covered by a broad range of standards, requiring a generic approach.

Furthermore, the Arm Compiler is now TÜV SÜD certified, allowing for safety-related software development up to ISO 26262 Asil D and IEC 61508 Sil 3 without further toolchain qualification activities. The TÜV certification complements Arm’s compiler qualification kit, which contains the safety manual, development process document, test report and defect report.

"Functional safety techniques are being applied at increasingly lower levels of design abstraction,” said Norbert Asche, general manager for safety microcontrollers at Texas Instruments. “Arm’s approach for functional safety designs with the Cortex-R5 core will ease the safety certification burden for our customers in the automotive, health and industrial markets. Our Hercules TMS570LC4x and RM57x microcontrollers, based on the Cortex-R5 core, and our Safeti design packages help designers meet requirements of industry standard functional safety standards such as ISO 26262, IEC 61508 and ISO 13849 while managing both systematic and random failures."

The Cortex-R5 safety documentation is available now for licensing and adds to the company’s support for industrial and automotive applications.