OpenHW Group builds RISC-V-based Core-V MCU development kit for IoT 

OpenHW Group and its members have announced what is claimed to be one of the industry’s most comprehensive open-source RISC-V development kits.

It features the OpenHW Core-V MCU, the Core-V software developer kit (SDK) with full-featured Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE,) and an open PCB design that supports Amazon Web Services (AWS) via AWS IoT ExpressLink. 

AWS IoT ExpressLink powers a range of hardware modules and includes AWS-validated software that securely connects devices to the cloud. The RISC-V based Core-V MCU DevKit enables software development for embedded, IoT and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven applications. 

The Core-V MCU is based on the open-source CV32E40P embedded-class processor, a small, 32-bit, in-order open source RISC-V core with a four-stage pipeline that implements the RV32IM[F]C RISC-V instruction extensions.

“The enormous potential of IoT applications requires new ways of thinking about design, and the open source community is delivering hardware, software and development tools to accelerate innovation,” said Rick O’Connor, president and CEO, OpenHW Group. “It’s truly inspiring to see such a cohesive global collaborative engineering effort to develop open-source building blocks enabling embedded MCU designs.” 

The Core-V MCU DevKit can emulate an array of weather station sensors located around the world. A demo at Embedded World, involving more than a dozen development kits will showcase the Core-V MCU, Core-V software development kit (SDK), and interconnection of IoT sensors and application to AWS, with local temperature readings on the Core-V MCU DevKit NexysA7 board. 

The DevKit SDK development was led by the Ashling and contains an IDE, debugger, GCC compiler (supplied by Embecosm), the FreeRTOS, and AWS IoT ExpressLink connectivity, using Espressif’s RISC-V-based Wi-Fi radio over AWS IoT ExpressLink.

The Core-V MCU is manufactured on GlobalFoundries’ proprietary 22FDX process technology for connected and low power embedded applications.

The design and verification of the CV32E40P processor in the Core-V MCU, involved contributions from Imperas, Siemens EDA, SiLabs, building on the original design from ETHZ. The CV32E40P core is based on the Pulp (Parallel Ultra Low Power) platform RI5CY core, originally developed at ETHZ’s Integrated Systems Laboratory (IIS) and the Energy-efficient Embedded Systems (EEES) group of the University of Bologna. Digital integration and back-end design of the Core-V MCU was handled by QuickLogic and CMC Microsystems, respectively.

The Core-V MCU includes QuickLogic’s eFPGA, designed to accelerate AI/ machine learning (ML) and other computationally intensive workloads from the CV32E40P processor.

Embecosm is leading OpenHW SW Task Group projects including GCC compiler tools for the Core-V cores and MCU, while Ashling has led the development of the Core-V SDK based on the Eclipse IDE, OpenOCD for debug and example programs.

Imperas has released riscvOVPsimCOREV as a free simulator for the Core-V MCU, based on the Imperas RISC-V reference models used in the verification of CV32E40P, as a starting point for software development tasks. 

The CORE-V MCU DevKit PCB board design integrating the Core-V MCU and expansion board for the demo were handled by AWS, using an AWS IoT ExpressLink powered for secure cloud connectivity. 

Espressif Systems, an IoT connectivity solution provider, supplied AWS IoT ExpressLink modules for the Core-V DevKit PCB to provide AWS IoT connectivity. 

Data visualisation for the demo is provided by Amazon Managed Grafana.

OpenHW Group members will demonstrate the OpenHW Core-V MCU DevKit for Cloud Connected IoT at Embedded World (21-23 June) in Nuremberg, Germany, at the AWS booth Hall 4-548, the Digi-Key booth Hall 4A-633, the Embecosm booth Hall 4-126, and the OpenHW Group kiosk in the RISC-V Pavilion Hall 1-550. 

The OpenHW Group is a non-profit, global organisation to develop, verify and provide open-source processor cores, along with hardware and software needed for use in high volume SoC production. OpenHW provides an infrastructure for hosting high quality open-source HW developments in line with industry best practices. The OpenHW Cores Task Group within the organisation has the mandate to develop the open source IP for the Core-V family of open source RISC-V processors. The OpenHW Group is a global, non-profit, member-driven organisation based in Canada, and partnered with the Eclipse Foundation. 

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