ARM's NEW ARCHITECTURE FOR AUTOMOTIVE AND
INDUSTRIAL CONTROL MARKETS
LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF TABELS
2.1 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
2.2 Hybrid Electric vehicle (HEV) power train control
WHAT’S SPECIAL IN THIS VERSION?
KEY FEATURES OF ARMv8-R ARCHITECTURE
4.1 Virtual memory system architecture (VMSA)
4.2 About the VMSA
5.1 Hardware vitualization/ platform virtualization
5.1.1 Different Types of Hardware Virtualization
5.2 Hardware-assisted virtualization
WHY HYPERVISOR FOR AUTOMOTIVE?
TODAY’S CORTEX-R ARCHITECTURE
LIST OF THE FIGURES
NAME OF FIGURE
ARM v8-R Privilege Levels
The ARMV8-R Architecture
ARMv8-R in a car
Instruction Set of ARMv8-R and ARMv8-A
LIST OF TABLES
CORTEX-A15 GIC memory-map
A-profile, R-profile and M-profile
Cortex-R4, Cortex-R5, and Cortex-R7
Advanced RISC Machine
Reduced Instruction Set computer
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems
Hybrid Electric vehicle
Adaptive Cruise Control
Intelligent Speed Advice
Internal Combustion Engine
Toyota Motor Company
Single Instruction to Multiple Data
System Error Interrupt
Virtual Memory System Architecture
Cyclic Redundancy Check
Memory Management Unit
Translation Lookaside Buffer
Application Space Identifier
Original Equipment Manufacturer
Protected Memory System Architecture
Memory Protection Unit
ARM Holdings reveals latest evolution of the ARM real time architecture profile, targeted
specifically for the automotive and industrial segments. ARM is a RISC-based architecture
designed specifically for low-power computing, mainly because processors based on these
architectures use fewer transistors than those found in a traditional processor. As a result, ARMbased processors are extremely popular in portable and battery powered devices, and almost all
smartphones and tablets are powered by them. ARM has now launched a new generation of
Cortex-R series of real time processors for automotive and industrial safety and control
applications. Featuring some real time capabilities of application (A) profile ARMv8-A and real
time (R) profile ARMv7-R architectures, ARMv8-R is built with key architectural developments
to focus on requirements of future integrated control and safety applications. ARMv8-R
architecture specification will have high end memory protection capabilities with real time and
industrial safety characteristics. The deployment of ARMv8-R architecture will result in cost
reduction and improvement in efficiency and performance of the embedded systems to match the
needs of the automotive applications such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS),
Hybrid Electric vehicle (HEV) power train control and factory automation.
Index Terms—VMSA (virtual memory system architecture), PMSA (protected memory
system architecture), microcontroller unit (MCU)
2.1 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS):
They are the systems to help the driver in the driving process. When designed with a safe
Human-Machine Interface it should increase car safety and more generally road safety.
Examples of such system are:
In-vehicle navigation system with typically GPS and TMC for providing up-to-date
Adaptive cruise control(ACC)
Lane departure warning system
Collision avoidance system (precrash system)
Intelligent speed adaptation or intelligent speed advice(ISA)
Adaptive light control
Pedestrian protection system
Traffic sign recognition
Blind spot detection
Driver drowsiness detection
Vehicular communication systems
Hill descent control
Electric vehicle warning sounds used in hybrids and plug-in-electric vehicle.
2.2 Hybrid Electric vehicle (HEV) power train control:
The Toyota Prius is the world’s best selling hybrid car, with cumulative global sales of over 3
million units through June 2013. A hybrid electric vehicle is a type of hybrid vehicle and electric
vehicle which combines a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) propulsion system
with an electric propulsion system.
The presence of the electric powertrain is intended to achieve either better fuel economy than a
conventional vehicle or better performance. There are a variety of HEV types, and the degree to
which they function as EVs varies as well. The most common form of HEV is the hybrid electric
car, although hybrid electric trucks (pickups and tractors) and buses also exist.
Modern HEVs make use of efficiency-improving technologies such as regenerative braking,
which converts the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electric energy to charge the battery, rather than
wasting it as heat energy as conventional brakes do. Some varieties of HEVs use their internal
combustion engine to generate electricity by spinning an electrical generator ( this combination
is known as a motor-generator), to either recharge their batteries or to directly power the electric
drive motors. Many HEVs reduce idle emissions by shutting down the ICE at idle and restarting
it when needed; this is known as a start-stop system.
A hybrid electric produces less emission from its ICE than a comparably sized gasoline car, since
an HEV’s gasoline engine is usually smaller than a comparably sized pure gasoline-burning
vehicle (natural gas and propane fuels produce lower emissions) and if not used to directly drive
the car, can be geared to run at maximum efficiency, further improving fuel economy. About 6.8
million hybrid electric vehicles have been sold worldwide by august 2013, led by Toyota Motor
Company(TMC) with more than 5.5 million Lexus and Toyota hybrids sold as of August 2013.
3. What's special in this version?
One of the key developments in 32-bit ARMv8-R architecture is use of a hypervisor mode in
processor hardware and support for hardware virtualization. Combing the two will result in a
virtual machine monitor, enabling programmers to combine different operating systems,
applications and real-time tasks on a single processor and at the same time ensuring isolation of
memory and processing time between those operating systems, applications and real-time tasks.
This will facilitate software consolidation and re-use, which will accelerate time-to-market and
reduce development costs
4. Key Features of ARMv8-R architecture:
Support for ARM's advanced SIMD extensions (ARM NEON Technology) for accelerating
multimedia and signal processing algorithms.
System register mapping of the interrupt control registers and the addition of a System Error
Interrupt (SEI) for improvement of interrupt response time and handling of critical errors.
Support for full Virtual Memory System Architecture (VMSA) for the use of wide range of
software assets present in application processor and rich operating system world.
Instruction sets from ARMv8-A architecture with new instructions for managing memory
• protection, Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) instructions and enhanced floating point
instructions according to the latest IEEE standard.
4.1 Virtual memory system architecture (VMSA):
It is based on a memory management unit (MMU). It contains the following sections:
4.2 About the VMSA:
Complex operating systems typically use a virtual memory system to provide separate, protected
address spaces for different processes. Processes are dynamically allocated memory and other
memory mapped system resources under the control of a memory management unit(MMU). The
MMU allows fine-grained control of a memory system through a set of virtual to physical
address mappings and associated memory properties held within one or more structures known
as Translation Look aside Buffers (TLBs) within the MMU. The contents of the TLBs managed
through hardware translation lookups from a set of translation tables maintained in memory.
The process of doing a full translation table lookup is called a translation table walk. It is
performed automatically by hardware, and has a significant cost in execution time, atleast one
main memory access, and often two. TLBs reduce the average cost of a memory access by
caching the results of translation table walks. Implementations can have a unified TLB( von
Neumann architecture) or separate instruction and Data TLBs( Harvard architecture).
The VMSA has been significantly enhanced in ARMv6. This is referred to as VMSAv6. To
prevent the need for TLB invalidation on a context switch, each virtual to physical address
mapping can be marked as being associated with a particular application space, or as global for
all application spaces. Only global mappings and those for the current application space are
enabled at any time. By changing the application space identifier (ASID), the enabled set of
virtual to physical address mappings can be altered. VMSAv6 has added definitions for different
Memory access sequence
Memory access control:
This controls whether a program has no-access, read-only access, or read/write access to
the memory area. When an access is not permitted, a memory abort is signaled to the
processor. The level of access allowed can be affected by whether the program is running
in user mode, or a privileged mode, and by the use of domains.
Memory region attributes:
These describe properties of a memory region, examples include device (VMSAv6), noncacheable, write-through, and write-back.
The Thumb instruction set is a subset of the most commonly used 32-bit ARM instructions.
Thumb instructions are each 16 bits long, and have a corresponding 32-bit ARM instruction that
has the same effect on the processor model. Thumb instructions operate with the standard ARM
register configuration, allowing excellent interoperability between ARM and Thumb states. On
execution, 16-bit Thumb instructions are transparently decompressed to full 32-bit ARM
instructions in real time, without performance loss.
Thumb has all the advantages of a 32-bit core:
32-bit address space
32-bit shifter, and Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU)
It refers to the act of creating virtual (rather than actual) version of something including but not
limited to a virtual computer hardware platform, operating system, and storage device or
computer network resources.
The term “virtualization” traces its roots to 1960s mainframes, during which it was a method of
logically dividing the mainframes resources for different applications since then, the meaning of
the term has evolved to the afore mentioned.
5.1 Hardware virtualization/ platform virtualization:
It refers to the creation of a virtual machine that acts like a real computer with an OS software
executed on these virtual machines is separated from the underlaying hardware resources. For
example, a computer that is running Microsoft windows may host a virtual machine that looks
like a computer with Ubuntu Linux OS, Ubuntu-based software can be run on the virtual
machine. In hardware virtualization, the host machine is the actual machine on which the
virtualization takes place, and the guest machine is the virtual machine. The words host and
guest are used to distinguish the software that runs on the physical machine from the software
that runs on the virtual machine.
The software or firmware that creates a virtual machine on the host hardware is called a
hypervisor or virtual machine manager.
5.1.1 Different Types of Hardware Virtualization:
Almost complete simulation of the actual hardware to allow software, which typically
consists of a guest OS, to run unmodified.
Some but not all of the target environment is simulated. Some guest programs, therefore,
may need modifications to run in this virtual environment.
A hardware environment is not simulated, however, the guest programs are executed in
their own isolated domains, as if they are running on a separate system modified to run in
5.2 Hardware-assisted virtualization:
It is a way of improving the efficiency of hardware virtualization and involves employing
specially designed CPUs, hardware components that help improve the performance of a guest
6. VFP v3/4:
VFP can be used for “normal” (non-vector) floating point calculations. Also, NEON doesn’t
support double-precision FP so only VFP instructions can be used for that. Instructions starting
with V (eg.vldl.32, vmla.f32) are NEON instructions, and those starting with F(eg.fldd, fmacd)
are VFP.( Although ARM docs now prefer using the vprefix even for VFP instructions.
VFPv3 is an optional extension to the ARM, ThumbEE instruction sets in the ARMv7-A and
ARMv7-R profiles. Some of the VFP extension register banks are VFPv2, VFPv3-D16-FP16 and
7. GIC Registers:
The GIC registers are grouped into four contiguous 4 kb or 8 kb pages. The distributor block
reside in the 4kb page, while the cpu interface, virtual interface control, and virtual cpu interface
blocks reside in the 8kb pages. The GIC provides two ways to access the GIC virtual interface
control registers. A single common base address for the GIC virtual interface control registers.
Each processor can access to its own GIC virtual interface control registers through this base
CORTEX-A15 GIC memory-map:
Virtual interface control
( common base address)
Table 1: CORTEX-A15 GIC memory-map
Virtual CPU interface
A number of operating system products will support ARMv8-R architecture ecosystem including
INTEGRITY from Green Hills Software, Nucleus from Mentor Graphics, and T-Kernel from
According to David Kleidermacher, chief technology officer at Green Hills Software, "The
evolution to support concurrent general-purpose and real-time operating systems is a significant
development for ARM architecture and the ARM ecosystem."
Mentioning about automotive and industrial interoperability and safety standards, he said, “We
expect our eT-Kernel real-time OS and its dedicated IDE to be certified for ISO 26262
automotive functional safety standard in the second quarter in 2014."
Glenn Perry, general manager of Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division said, "Mentor’s
support of the ARMv8-R architecture will enable both ARM licensees and embedded developers
to create innovative solutions for automotive, industrial, and safety-critical applications."
“Our mutual customers can make use of this innovative architecture ahead of silicon availability
through virtual prototypes and also when ARMv8-R based devices are available with the small
footprint, power-efficient Nucleus RTOS, Mentor Embedded Linux, virtualization technologies,
AUTOSAR solutions and Sourcery Code Bench tools," he added.
ARM has unveiled its new microprocessor architecture specifically designed to run
deterministic, real-time embedded applications in automotive electronics and other
industrial control systems.
One of the highlights of the new architecture--dubbed ARMv8-R—is a hardware-assisted
virtualization mode designed in its real-time embedded processor. EE Times has learned
that Nvidia is likely to be among the first companies to license the ARMv8-R
Described by ARM as a “bare-metal” hypervisor mode, the new architecture’s
virtualization feature is in big demand among real-time embedded system designers
saddled with the “increasingly sticky problem of combining different software with
safety-critical applications,” says Richard York, director of product marketing at ARM.
The need to run different operating systems, applications, and real-time tasks on a single
processor is paramount. Yet system designers are asked to do so by ensuring they are
strictly isolated from one another.
Automotive customers—carmakers and Tier 1s included—are particularly eager for the
virtualization feature, according to York.
The ARMv8-R architecture is designed to run rich Oss( such as Android for a graphical
user interface) and real-time operating systems on the same processor. It is also designed
to allow both virtual memory and protected memory systems to coexist on one processor.
ARMv8-R architecture enables a “rich” OS with memory management.
Kevin Krewell, senior analyst at the Linley Group, summed it up:
“A system designer can consolidate multiple real-time microcontroller functions into one
ARM8-R based processor without posing real-time responsiveness and process
Those looking to play a bigger role in the automotive market are paying close attention to
ARM’s new microprocessor architecture. Asked about ARMv8-R, Nvidia told EE Times
in a separate interview in which Nvidia is investing heavily in the development of
hypervisor solutions for a number of markets, including automotive. Based on the ARM
architecture, Nvidia automobile solutions will be able to run multiple operating systems
on a single processor to enable simultaneous use of both infotainment applications and
more safety-critical functions.
8. Why hypervisor for automotive?
A big change in the automotive landscape in recent years is that more and more features in new
cars are defined in software and electronics, rather than mechanical systems. As a result, “more
and more car OEMs have begun writing their own software codes.” Explained York. Carmakers,
seeking a little bit more control over their own cars, are coming up with clever new features
through their own software.
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
(original equipment manufacturers) alongside existing software—some of which are safetycritical applications—“without mucking everything up,” said York.
Fig 3. ARMv8-R in a car
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 Tkernel 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 IEC61508. ARM will be disclosing details of the new
architecture at the upcoming event.
The ARM architecture continuosly evolves to support deployment of energy-efficient
computation devices in a growing spectrum of applications that can take advantage of progress in
Recent advances included the large physical address extensions (LPAE) for the ARMv7-A
applications architecture and the new 32-/64 bit ARMv8-A applications architecture. These
developments will lead to a new generation of cortex-R processors that will meet the needs of
integrated control and safety systems in applications such as ADAS, HEV power train control
and factory automation.
ARM is known primarily for its range of cortex-A processors used in significant numbers of
consumer devices such as smart phones and tablets. Each of these processors is based on
evolutions of ARM’s application profile (A profile) architecture, with each generation adding
new features for increased performance and capabilities, while ensuring compatibility with a
broad software ecosystem. Some features—for example , the addition of 64-bit processing in
ARMv8-A-- benefit significantly from being presented to the ARM ecosystem ahead of products
containing this feature becoming available; this provides an opportunity for discussion and
development of associated software, including operating systems, and system IP collateral, as
well as providing guidance on ARM’s intended direction.
In addition to the A profile, the ARM architecture also contains profiles targeting the specific
needs of embedded, real-time processors and microcontrollers, respectively called the Real-time
(R profile) and microcontroller profiles (M profile). Found in systems ranging from anti-lockbraking to white goods to cell phone radios, the Cortex-R and Cortex-M series processors, based
on these profiles, form the relatively unknown masses of CPUs that make the everyday world
work in a safe and reliable way.
9. Today’s Cortex-R Architecture:
ARM’s current lineup of embedded, real-time processors is based on the ARMv7-R architecture,
and is formed of three complementary processors: the cortex-R4, cortex-R5 and cortex-R7
processors. In common with processors based on the ARMv7-A architecture, these processors
execute both the ARM(A32) and Thumb(T32) instruction sets, but differ by offering a range of
features for safety and real-time applications. From an architectural point of view, the key
difference between the A and R profiles are the memory system capabilities. The ARMv8-A
profile provides full virtual memory support via the virtual system memory architecture (VMSA)
commonly found on desktop and mobile-phone platforms. The ARMv8-R profile implements
memory protection without translation via the protected memory system architecture (PMSA).
The PMSA uses registers tightly coupled to the processor in a memory protection unit( MPU) to
provide protection of memory without the non-deterministic behavior introduced by potential
TLB misses. PMSA provides support for running Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) with
the ability to prevent erroneous execution of tasks corrupting either other tasks or the kernel.
Cortex- R4 processor in 2005, the features and capabilities of ARM’s embedded
processors have been driven to provide a portfolio capable of supporting highperformance computing solutions for embedded systems, where high availability, fault
tolerance, maintainability and real-time responses are required, such as:
Airbag, braking, stability, dashboard, engine management
Hard disk drive controllers, solid state drive controllers
3G, 4G, LTE, WiMax, smartphones and baseband modems
Medical, industrial, high-end microcontroller units (MCU)
Networking and printers; inkjet and multi-function printer
Digital TV, BluRay players and portable media players
Digital still camera (DSC) and digital video camera (DVC)
Fig 4. Instruction Set of ARMv8-R and ARMv8-A
In addition to the requirements of today’s systems ARM sees four new challenges for real-time
application developers such as Desire for consolidation( Aim of providing more capable
systems), Increased safety and integrity, Demand for future rich software.
A profile, R profile, and M profile:
32-bit register width
32-bit register width
Thumb instruction set
T32(Thumb) and A64
Runs real-time OS
Table 2. A-profile, R-profile and M-profile
Thus it provides a wide range of applications such as in automotives, storage devices, mobile
handsets, embedded, and enterprise and has a scope of providing better features as the
technology is advanced depending upon the requirement whether it is 32-bit or 62-bit and it may
be either thumb instructions or extensions of versions of virtual floating point variables. The
above tabular form represents the different profiles that are used such as application profile, realtime profile and microcontroller profile in which we are focusing on real-time profile based
Cortex-R4 , Cortex-R5 and Cortex-R7:
increase and Advanced
Smaller floating- point
unit, Enhanced memory
Soft and hard error
Dual core in split or lock
Quality of service features
Bus error management
Table 3. Cortex-R4, Cortex-R5, and Cortex-R7
Latest ARMv8-R and its future scope:
The ARMv8-R architecture represents the latest evolution of the ARM real-time architecture
profile. While adopting some features from the ARMv8-A architecture announced in 2011,
ARMv8-R remains a 32-bit architecture using the AArch32 exception model( compatible with
that used in ARMv7-R ) and executing the A32(ARM) and T32(Thumb) instruction sets. In
addition to the real-time features already present in ARMv7-R, the ARMv8-R architecture adds a
number of key architectural capabilities aimed at addressing the requirements of future integrated
control and safety applications.
Consolidation via virtualization is to address the requirement to be able to consolidate multiple
systems onto a single processor, ARMv8-R architecture brings support for hardware
virtualization. In common with ARMv8-A, this results in the addition of a new exception level of
higher priority than any that already exists on current Cortex-R processors.
Thus the ARMv8-R architecture adds a number of key architectural capabilities aimed at
addressing the requirements of future integrated control and safety applications and results in the
addition of a new exception level of higher priority than any that already exists on current
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