The need to handle the growing load of disparate software including contributed codes by OEMs is, in turn, pressuring Tier 1 modular vendors such as Bosch or Continental, said York. Their modules are now expected to run, on the same ECU, new contributed codes from OEMs alongside existing software -- some of which are safety-critical applications -- "without mucking everything up," said York.
Contributed codes are all over the map. Their spectrum ranges from safety-related features such as braking to less critical functions like window wipers, seat positioning, and new graphics on the human-machine interface. The key for the successful integration of such diverse software is the microprocessor's ability to make a clear partition separating one app from another.
Leading software vendors such as Green Hills Software already offer secure virtualization through a well proven hypervisor layer, York told us. To date, however, none had developed hardware support for virtualization. With hardware support, "you no longer need to rely on writing complex software, which is often a very expensive solution."
The fundamentals of the ARMv8-R architecture are consistent with the ARMv8-A, according to York. While the previously announced ARMv8-A architecture is focused more on high performance, the ARMv8-R zeroes in on real-time processing. The new architecture, for the time being, only supports 32-bit register, as the company does not see, for now, the need for 64-bit among real-time embedded applications, said York. The new ARMv8-R will maintain backward compatibility with ARMv7-R ARM and Thumb instruction sets.
Ecosystem support for the ARMv8-R architecture is anticipated in a number of operating system products including Green Hills Software's Integrity, Nucleus from Mentor Graphics, and T-Kernel from eSOL, according to ARM. These integrated hardware and software solutions will be capable of supporting stringent automotive and industrial interoperability and safety standards, including AUTOSAR, ISO 26262, and IEC 61508.
ARM will be disclosing details of the new architecture at the upcoming event, ARM TechCon, in Santa Clara, Calif., that starts Tuesday, Oct. 29.