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Friday, March 29, 2019

Renesas plans security standard update for embedded linux

By Nick Flaherty

Renesas Electronics plans to release a security update for its RZ/G Linux Platform that will reduce the amount of time required for users to obtain certification under IEC 62443-4-2, a new international standard for security technologies used to protect industrial control systems from cyberattacks.

Cyberattacks on industrial control systems for infrastructure facilities such as manufacturing plants and power stations pose the risk of serious disruption to people’s lives and to the economy. For this reason, the IEC established the IEC 62443 international security standard covering all layers (operators, system integrators, and equipment suppliers) engaged in the manufacturing of industrial control systems and all players (enterprises and organizations involved in industry and public infrastructure). Within this standard, endpoint devices such as sensors and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) must be certified under IEC 62443-4. The certification process imposes a significant burden on developers. It requires them to interpret the difficult standard, to prepare the software and documentation required for certification, and to execute a procedure that requires specialized expertise.

To help developers overcome these certification challenges, Renesas is developing an industrial security solution that supports IEC 62443-4. Together with deliverables through the activities in Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIPTM) Project, the Renesas RZ/G Linux Platform security solution will enable users to reduce the time required for obtaining IEC 62443-4-2 certification by as much as six months.

“At the end of February 2019, the international standard version of IEC62443-4-2 was officially released,” said Shigeki Kato, Vice President of Renesas’ Enterprise Infrastructure Business Division, Industrial Solution Business Unit. “Renesas supports the adoption of IEC 62443 across the entire industry and is working to roll out this solution as soon as possible as part of an all-out effort to support our customers’ efforts to acquire certification.”

Within the IEC 62443-4 standard, IEC 62443-4-1 deals with development process compliance and IEC 62443-4-2 deals with the technical compliance of the devices themselves. Renesas is working through the newly established CIP Security Working Group to develop secure open source software (OSS) that complies with IEC 62443-4-2, to establish guidelines for implementing security functions and applications using OSS, and to help create the testing procedures and testing environments necessary for obtaining IEC 62443-4-2 certification.

“By promoting the widespread adoption of OSS, CIP aims to make secure civil infrastructure systems a reality. IEC 62443-4 is a key role in this as industry priority, which is why CIP is aligned with supporting and promoting it,” said Urs Gleim, CIP Governing Board Chairman and Head of Smart EmbeddedSystems for Siemens AG. “I am confident that the new Security Working Group led by Renesas will advance the adoption of OSS in industrial machinery and contribute to the realization of secure smart factories and infrastructure.”

Renesas supports embedded Linux devices in the industrial field with the RZ/G Linux Platform, a one-stop solution combining a high-performance RZ/G microprocessor (MPU) and a fully-verified Linux package with a guaranteed, ultra-long-term support. The new security solution will include all the software and documentation necessary for obtaining IEC 62443-4-2 certification, providing an optimal development environment for products employing the RZ/G Linux Platform. The new security solution was developed combining Renesas’ efforts made through the CIP Security Working Group and the RZ/G Linux Platform, and will enable users to reduce their IEC 62443-4-2 certification time by up to six months. Moving forward, Renesas will continue to provide solutions with IEC 62443-4 support while working to advance enhanced endpoint intelligence in the OT field to develop shared technologies such as security technology and functional safety technology.

The IEC 62443-4-2-compliant security solution is scheduled to be available by the end of 2019, starting with the RZ/G2M MPU. The solutions for other RZ/G2 MPUs will be available over time.

Rugged industrial PC has IoT Greengrass pre-loaded

By Nick Flaherty

Logic Supply has launched a rugged computer that is rated for extreme environments, highly configurable and can be pre-loaded with AWS IoT Greengrass and machine learning data.

The Karbon 300 rugged fanless computer has been designed to overcome the limitations of deploying reliable computer hardware in challenging environments. 

A key element is that the PC can be pre-configured to seamlessly communicate with Amazon Web Services. AWS IoT Greengrass with Machine Learning (ML) Inference is available as a pre-installed option, allowing Karbon 300 to perform ML tasks and enabling the use of ML models built and trained in the cloud to be utilized locally at the edge.

"Computing at the edge is increasingly at the core of today's Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT solutions," says Logic Supply VP of Products Murat Erdogan. "These devices are being deployed in environments that would quickly destroy traditional computer hardware. The builders and creators we work with require a careful combination of connectivity, processing and environmental protections. With Karbon 300, we're providing the ideal mix of capabilities to help make the next generation of industry-shaping innovation a reality, and enable innovators to truly challenge what's possible."

Designed for use as an industrial or mobile gateway, automation PC, workstation or digital media device, Karbon 300's all-metal chassis measures 154 x 56 x 119 mm and can be wall, VESA or DIN rail mounted. The system is powered by either an Intel Apollo Lake Atom E3930 Dual-Core, or E3950 Quad-Core processor. Connectivity includes 3x LAN with optional Power over Ethernet (PoE+), dual DisplayPorts, dual RS-232/422/485 COM ports, 4x USB 3.0, integrated CAN bus and DIO. Available wireless options include Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, 4G LTE and LTE Cat M1. Expansion and storage can be configured via dual M.2 slots and the system is available with 4 or 8 GB of onboard high-speed LPDDR4 memory. OS options include multiple versions of Windows 10 and Linux Ubuntu 18.04.

The Karbon 300 can be configured with an Intel Movidius Vision Processing Unit (VPU) to accelerate machine vision algorithms and enable AI and machine learning applications. Integrated hardware TPM provides Root of Trust data security to help protect sensitive information and integrated Consumer Electronics Control allows Karbon 300 to control connected displays in digital signage, kiosk or entertainment installations.

"Our clients are constantly pushing the limits of what computers can do," said Erdogan. "We wanted to challenge ourselves to build a piece of rugged hardware that was more resistant to environmental damage than anything we've ever designed before. We've always been obsessive about reliability, but we subjected Karbon 300 to stresses above and beyond our usual battery of tests, including additional vibration and impact testing, as well as higher and lower temperature extremes. The result is a computer system that provides incredible installation flexibility, wherever computing power is needed."

To meet the demands of extreme computing environments, Karbon 300 is tested according to IEC 60068-2-27 & IEC 60068-2-64/ MIL-STD-810 procedures for shock and vibration. EMC, shock and vibration performance also meet the in-vehicle UNECE Reg.10 E-mark and rolling stock EN50155 standards. The system is CE and FCC compliant. A wide input voltage rating, operating temperature range of -25 ~ 70°C (-13 ~ 158°F) and automotive power capabilities make the system well-suited to in-vehicle and other mobile installations.

Karbon 300 is currently available for pre-order at

Thursday, March 28, 2019

VxWorks RTOS for satellite design

By Nick Flaherty

Satellite startup Astranis Space Technologies is using the VxWorks real-time operating system for its next generation satellite.

Over half of the world doesn't have access to the internet - and satellites are expected to play a major role in solving that problem. Astranis is building satellites that are capable of delivering broadband internet services to individuals around the globe. It targets areas where, due to the high cost of building the infrastructure, broadband internet isn't widely available or is completely unavailable.

Astranis is using VxWorks to run the main flight computer that controls the avionics in guiding the satellite and keeping it in communication with Earth. Astranis recently announced that its first satellite will be going over Alaska, in partnership with Alaska-based internet provider Pacific Dataport.

“We are very excited to be working with Wind River on our first satellite. Wind River’s proven success in space and their longstanding relationship with NASA and others in the space industry give us confidence that they are the right partner to bring our vision to life,” said Astranis CEO and cofounder John Gedmark.

“Wind River has decades of leadership in space, and we are thrilled that Astranis selected Wind River software to power its ground-breaking technology that will bring the unconnected world online,” said Ray Petty, vice president of aerospace and defense at Wind River. “It is gratifying to serve as a core innovation enabler, helping companies like Astranis accelerate development, reduce costs, and ultimately bring game-changing technology to the market.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cortus launches RISC-V family of controllers

By Nick Flaherty

French processor developer Cortus has launched a range of six RISC-V processors, ranging from low end embedded controller to a 64 bit processor with Floating Point.

The cores are available for design-in in customer ASIC designs implemented by the experienced teams at Cortus.
The range starts with a low gate count, very low power 32 bit CPU core - the APS1V (RV32EMC). A more powerful, but equally low power CPU, the APS3V (RV32IMC) comes next. If a multi-core solution is necessary the APS5V (RV32IMAC) is available. If floating point is needed then the single precision FPS6V (RV32IMACF) can be used or the FPS8V (RV32GC) for double precision calculations. The last member of the family is a high performance 64 bit processor with double precision floating point and MMU: the FPS69V (RV64GC).

"Our customers and partners are benefiting from our experience with processor design and I am proud of these RISC-V ISA implementations, which are creating real value in the ASICs we are designing for our customers. With over 4 billion devices with Cortus technology inside our customers enjoy real success with us," said Duc Nguyen Huu, General Manager at Cortus.

The processors have already been implemented in customer projects in the aerospace, satellite, industrial and automotive sectors. A complete development ecosystem is available, including graphical environment, compiler, debugger real time operating systems and tools. Billions of chips containing Cortus IP (including processor IP) have been manufactured based on the successful Cortus ecosystem.

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Thursday, March 07, 2019

Dialog buys Korean low power WiFi chip designer, adds NB-IoT

By Nick Flaherty

Dialog Semiconductor is to buy the Mobile Communications Business of memory controller chip designer Silicon Motion for $45m. The FCI business designs RF chips, including an ultra low power WiFi chip and narrowband cellular RF chips for the Internet of Things (IoT).

FCI mainly designs RF tuner-demodulators for smartphones, tablets and automotive Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs) but also launched the FC9000 WiFi chip, ramping production in Q4 of 2018 along with a range of modules specifically for battery powered designs in the IoT.

The deal sits alongside Dialog's Bluetooth chip business, which has shipped over 250 million units into IoT applications. The addition of Ultra-Low-Power Wi-Fi allows for combo-devices.

"The acquisition of Silicon Motion's Mobile Communications product line provides Dialog customers with Ultra-Low-Power Wi-Fi SoCs and complete modules that are certified and designed to meet the demands of today's battery powered IoT devices," said CEO Jalal Bagherli. "Ultra-Low-Power Wi-Fi is a strong strategic fit for Dialog with the opportunity to combine Wi-Fi and Bluetooth low energy chips and modules selling into our complementary IoT, consumer and automotive markets." Bagherli added, "we are excited to welcome the Mobile Communications team to Dialog. Together, we will increase the value we can bring to our customers by building a more diversified low-power connectivity offering."

In addition to the current product lines, the acquisition also brings to Dialog a broad range of new technologies and engineering capabilities with extensive design expertise in RF wireless communications for cellular 4G and 5G, Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) transceiver, power amplifiers and deep sub-micron chip design. Combined with Dialog's extensive configurable mixed signal, low power and connectivity expertise, this acquisition will provide a platform to create and combine a range of new products.

The acquired group is primarily located near Seoul, South Korea. It shipped over 65 million SoCs in 2018 and can be found in many leading smartphone models.

Monday, March 04, 2019

USB4 specification looks to double bandwidth over Type-C connectors for displays

By Nick Flaherty

The USB Promoter Group has launched its USB4 specification, a major update to deliver the next generation USB architecture that compliments and builds on the existing USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 architectures.

The USB4 architecture is based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification recently contributed by Intel to double the bandwidth and enable multiple simultaneous data and display protocols. It defines a method to share a single high-speed link with multiple end device types dynamically that best serves the transfer of data by type and application.

This comes from the USB Type-C connector being used as the external display port of many host products, so the USB4 specification provides the host the ability to optimally scale allocations for display data flow, while maintaining compatibility with existing USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3 hosts and devices.

“The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution,” said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman. “The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this experience by optimizing the blend of data and display over a single connection and enabling the further doubling of performance.”

Key characteristics of the USB4 solution include two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40  Gbps certified cables and the multiple data and display protocols to efficiently share the total available bandwidth over the bus

Over 50 companies are actively participating in the final stages of review of the draft specification, which is set to be published around the middle of 2019. Alongside will be an update of the USB Type-C Specification to include USB4 bus discovery, configuration and performance requirements.

“Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone,” said Jason Ziller, General Manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel. “By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we’re opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers.”

Related stories:

Siemens buys SiC inverter tech ... Solid state batteries ship ... eGaN automotive reliability testing

Power news this week By Nick Flaherty

. Siemens buys German SiC string inverter specialist

. 24M ships 'semisolid' batteries

. US bans lithium batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft

. Consortium develops sustainable battery production in Europe

. NREL slashes uncertainty rate for PV power measurement

. EPC takes eGaN testing past AEC-Q101

. 'Refillable' EV battery technology promises 3,000 mile range


. Evaluation platforms for railway DC-DC converters

. Thermoelectric medical cooler replaces compressors

. PMIC is capable of 100mV cold start from harvested energy


. Infineon: Semiconductor solutions for robotics

. Spectral Pure Technology

. SimpleLink crystal-less wireless MCU based on TI BAW technology