SiFive unveils Automotive E6-A, X280-A, and S7-A RISC-V processors

RISC-V is coming to your car too, with the introduction of SiFive Automotive E6-A, X280-A, and S7-A RISC-V processors designed for automotive applications such as infotainment, cockpit, connectivity, ADAS, and electrification.

Those are built on the existing SiFive Essential 6-series E6 32-bit real-time cores, SiFive Intelligence X280 64-bit RISC-V processor with AI extensions, and SiFive S7 64-bit real-time cores (equivalent to Cortex-R7/R8), but adds safety, security, and performance required by the automotive market such as ASIL compliance.

SiFive Automotive RISC V processor

Each new core targets specific applications within a vehicle:

  • The SiFive E6-A series will be found in system control boards, hardware security modules (HSMs) and safety islands, as well as standalone in microcontrollers.
  • The SiFive S7-A 64-bit  real-time core is said to be suited to the needs of SoCs with performant safety islands, requiring both low latency interrupt support and the same 64-bit memory space as the main application CPUs.
  • The SiFive X280-A will be used for sensor fusion, and other vector or machine learning intensive workloads in automotive applications.

The SiFive Automotive processor family will offer a range of integrity levels like ASIL B, ASIL D, or mixed criticalities with split-lock, in line with ISO26262. SiFive Automotive products will also include WorldGuard security solutions and be compliant with cybersecurity standards such as WP.29, R155, and ISO21434.

SiFive E6-A
Three variants of E6A: E6-AB with ASIL B integrity level, E6-AD with ASIL D integrity level, and E6-AS with split-lock and ASIL D integrity level in lock-mode.

SiFive says its solutions stand out in at least three areas, namely lowest area and power consumption which can be especially important in electric cars, higher level of flexibility since the cores can be optimized for specific requirements, and “industry-leading performance” with the X280-A, which will certainly not deliver the same level of CPU performance as an Arm Cortex-A78AE automotive core, but SiFive highlights the machine learning (ML) performance in this specific case. This may change as we are told a “very-high performance, out-of-order, application CPU with best-in-class performance and automotive capabilities” will be added to SiFive portfolio in 2023.

Electronics will take a larger and larger part of the bill-of-materials (BoM) of a car over time, and Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst for Futurum Research, claims chips are expected to represent over 20% of the BoM for cars by the end of the decade. Several automotive parts/service suppliers and tool vendors are on-board with SiFive Automotive RISC-V cores including Ashling (RiscFree toolchain), Cadence, Canonical, Elektrobit, Green Hills, IAR Systems, iSystem AG, Lauterbach, Renesas, Resiltech, Segger, Siemens, Solid Sands, Synopsys, SYSGO, TASKING, and WITTENSTEIN.

More details may be found in the press release and the product page.

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One Reply to “SiFive unveils Automotive E6-A, X280-A, and S7-A RISC-V processors”

  1. Google hit: “The average car has 30 to 50 different computers, and high-end cars have as many as 100, and they’re accompanied by 60 to 100 different electronic sensors”

    So enough market opportunity for RISC-V.

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