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SiFive Rolls Out Powerful New RISC-V Portfolio to Address Unmet Performance and Feature Needs of Rapidly Evolving Next-Gen Digital Automobiles

SiFive, the founder and leader of RISC-V computing, announced three products as part of the first phase of a long-term roadmap and portfolio designed to meet the specific needs of automotive manufacturers and their suppliers. SiFive Automotive E6-A, X280-A, and S7-A solutions address critical needs for current and future applications like infotainment, cockpit, connectivity, ADAS, and electrification, as the market transitions to zonal architectures and manufacturers require the energy efficiency, simplicity, security, and software flexibility that RISC-V offers. SiFive’s high-end applications and real-time processors offer industry-leading performance, with the lowest area and power consumption, and are being tailored to vehicle specific needs for safety, security, and performance. The company also highlighted a growing list of top-tier customers and leading ecosystem partners, and how they are collaborating to deliver comprehensive automotive solutions.

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“SiFive is combining the best RISC-V benefits in the only end-to-end portfolio designed to meet automotive needs today and long into the future.” Patrick Little

The transformation to the digital automobile has changed, accelerated, and increased the demands on computing requirements, the pace of innovation, and the flexibility required within the automotive supply ecosystem. This rapid evolution is driving the success of RISC-V in the automotive market, which is taking advantage of its flexible, modern architecture, fast growing ecosystem, and proven power and performance benefits to bring solutions that accelerate the pace of innovation in the vehicle space.

“SiFive is combining the best RISC-V benefits in the only end-to-end portfolio designed to meet automotive needs today and long into the future,” said Patrick Little, CEO and Chairman, SiFive. “We are seeing widespread interest in our new RISC-V automotive solutions and are working closely with several leading semiconductor companies and top-tier suppliers, who are turning to the flexibility of our highest performance cores in areas like safety-critical compute applications. Customers are now able to take advantage of our latest, most powerful cores to bring exciting innovations to consumers.”

“Renesas has been closely collaborating with SiFive to bring the strong benefits of RISC-V to many of our products,” said Takeshi Kataoka, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Automotive Solution Business Unit at Renesas. “RISC-V continues to gain momentum around the world, and we plan to leverage SiFive’s portfolio of automotive RISC-V products in our future automotive SoC solutions to meet the exacting demands of these global customers. Partnering with an innovation leader like SiFive is a logical step that allows us to fuel our growth and meet our customer’s evolving requirements.”

RISC-V: Meeting Automotive Requirements Today and Into the Future

RISC-V brings a host of benefits to the automotive industry. Using a single instruction set architecture (ISA) across all product offerings – from safety islands to real-time products to highest performance ADAS and central zone compute – increases code portability and can greatly reduce cost and time-to-market, while RISC-V vector extensions bring enhanced machine learning and DSP capabilities. The global RISC-V ecosystem is growing rapidly, particularly in the U.S. and China, and consists of more than three thousand members. This provides wide choice and ensures future support and innovation. Working without proprietary lock-in, companies can license from multiple vendors and have more flexibility to design their own IP where needed, while maintaining software and ecosystem compatibility.

“Semiconductors are rapidly becoming the most critical component to the next generation of vehicles. With chips set to be over 20% of the BoM for cars by the end of the decade, the development of power-efficient, highly performant chips will continue to be a key priority for automotive manufacturers seeking to develop the most innovative automobiles for the future,” said Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst for Futurum Research. “SiFive continues to play an important role in leading the evolution of chip designs based on RISC-V, which I expect will gain market momentum as auto manufacturers seek to level up their vehicles to meet the increased demands of consumers wanting the most forward thinking, safe, and secure technology in their cars.”

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The company is also working with a growing list of ecosystem partners to build a comprehensive RISC-V automotive solution set. Check out the partner list below.

The SiFive Automotive E6-A, S7-A, and X280-A Series of Processors

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The SiFive Automotive processor family offers the highest level of flexibility from any CPU IP vendor, with options that enable both area and performance optimization for different integrity levels like ASIL B, ASIL D, or mixed criticalities with split-lock, in line with ISO26262.

  • E6-A series for a variety of real-time, 32-bit applications, from system control to hardware security modules (HSMs) and safety islands, and as standalone in microcontrollers.
  • S7-A is a 64-bit, high-performance real-time core perfectly suited to the needs of modern SoCs with performant safety islands, requiring both low latency interrupt support and the same 64b memory space visibility as the main application CPUs.
  • X280-A builds on the successful performance and power efficiency of the X280 and is ideal for sensors, sensor fusion, and other vector or ML intensive workloads in automotive applications.

The SiFive Automotive family will also expand its portfolio in 2023 with a very high performance, out of order, application CPU with best-in-class performance and automotive capabilities.

SiFive’s automotive products are accompanied by relevant safety packages that include documentation to accelerate the integration of the Safety Element out of Context (SEooC) and, with it, our customers’ time-to-market. Independent assessments of ASIL claims will support SiFive’s safety claims.

Enabling solutions include proven SiFive WorldGuard security solutions. With tailored levels of integrity for functional safety, SiFive Automotive products are also compliant with relevant cybersecurity standards, such as WP.29, R155, and ISO21434.

Future Automobiles will be Powered by RISC-V

SiFive is creating a complete lineup of compute IP for MCUs, MPUs, and high-performance SoCs, as well as vector processing solutions tailored for automotive applications, with the first high-performance, out-of-order, Automotive family cores planned for late 2023.

“We are making a significant long-term investment into the future of automotive, and we are continuing to assemble a world-class team of automotive CPU design experts who are collaborating with industry leaders to drive the digital vehicle forward,” continued Little.

From technologists like Monia Chiavacci who is a globally recognized pioneer in Functional Safety (FuSA) applied to systems-on-a-chip, a critical auto safety innovation, to Chairman and CEO, Patrick Little, who helped build the successful automotive business at Qualcomm, SiFive has put in place the team and tools to advance the digital automobile with RISC-V.

“One of the things that brought me to a leader like SiFive was the incredible potential of RISC-V, enabled by SiFive’s innovations, to develop solutions for some of the automotive industry’s greatest challenges while ensuring flexibility and faster time to market for both suppliers and manufacturers,” said Monia Chiavacci, SiFive Senior Principal Architect. “In addition to delivering our powerful processors, we are equally focused on ensuring the highest levels of functional safety without compromising performance and innovation.”

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