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Friday, April 26, 2019

SiFIve teams with QuickLogic for RISC-V templates with embedded AI

By Nick Flaherty

RISC-V pioneer SiFive has teamed up with FPGA maker Quicklogic on a series of  SoC Templates that shorten the development time of system-on-chip devices with embedded artificial intelligence (AI) for a wide range of industrial and consumer applications.

For example, a Predictive Maintenance (PdM 4.0) template supports digital and analogue sensors used in Industry 4.0 predictive maintenance protocols. This template is optimized for power-efficient performance in industrial, automotive and AI and machine learning (ML) applications.

The Freedom Aware family of SoC Templates lowers the cost and development time associated with new SoC designs through the use of tested building blocks and a full suite of development tools that ensure finished SoCs mirror the results of pre-fabrication software emulations. 

Taking advantage of SoC Templates, users can greatly reduce the design cycle to only a few months, reduce the total cost to first silicon by an order of magnitude, and most importantly, provide custom silicon solutions while removing the dependency on large semiconductor design teams.

"We are extremely proud of our strategic partnership with SiFive and the role we are playing in the development of the industry's first family of SoC Templates," said Brian Faith, president and CEO of QuickLogic. "SoC Templates are what the industry needs to accelerate the development and introduction of the highly diverse products that are broadly referred to as the Internet of Things."

The templates are based around SiFive's heterogeneous multi-core architecture and QuickLogic's AI subsystem that is available with programmable acceleration and sophisticated power-management technology that delivers ultra-low power solutions optimized for battery-powered consumer and industrial IoT applications.

A template for an MCU for IoT is aimed at industrial and commercial IoT devices, featuring multiple processors, security cores, hardware accelerators and always-on sensing. Applications include consumer IoT, industrial IoT, and wearables.

The Always-on Voice Processor template is optimized for smart devices and mobile handsets, featuring multiple microphone processors and accelerators to enable superior far and near field, close talk and acoustic use cases. Applications include smart speakers, voice assistants, smart appliances and smartphones.

SiFive and QuickLogic are working with a number of potential customers via the FA Early Adopter program. Companies that join the Early Adopter program will have exclusive, early access to the Freedom Aware SoC Templates, the ability to add features and will be able to develop SoC designs that will be ready to launch next year.

"Our Core IP Series have driven greater intelligence at the edge. Now, with the new Freedom Aware family of SoC Templates, we are responding to the need for a complete, economical, and rapid time-to-market SoC solution," said Naveed Sherwani, president and CEO of SiFive. 

"Freedom Aware combines QuickLogic's IP and expertise in ultra-low-power SoC design with SiFive's leadership in RISC-V processing and design platforms to produce powerful and agile SoC Templates for the targeted applications. With these resources, and the sophisticated development tools that support them, we are opening vast new markets for innovation by democratizing SoC design."

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