Sundance bases PolarBerry on RISC-V architecture

For secure, low power and thermally efficient embedded systems development, Sundance says its PolarBerry system on module (SoM) delivers defence-grade security, low power consumption and thermal efficiency for smart, connected systems. It is suitable for defence/mil-aero, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), communications, automotive, industrial automation and imaging applications as well as the IoT.

PolarBerry is claimed to be the first production and deployment-ready SoM with a hardened 64-bit, multi-core real-time, Linux-capable RISC-V microprocessor sub-system.

It is based on Microchip Technology PolarFire SoC FPGA, providing a deterministic, coherent 64-bit RISC-V CPU cluster. A deterministic L2 memory sub-system enables the implementation of secure Linux and real-time applications. PolarBerry can be used in the development of embedded computing and real-time applications based on RISC-V processors as an alternative to Arm, advises Sundance.

PolarBerry’s compute engine delivers up to 50 per cent lower power than alternative FPGAs, 250k logic elements (LEs) and features four high-speed, low-power transceivers from 250Mbits per second to 12.7Gbits per second. The PolarFire SoC FPGA’s power consumption is 12W maximum.

The PolarBerry SoM offers all the important attributes for strong SoC/FPGA design security including anti-cloning protection, device-level anti-tamper features, bitstream protection, key management, FPGA hardware access control, secure boot and physical memory protection (PMP) as well as supply chain assurance. It also features a 40-pin Raspberry Pi interface to allow standalone operation and rapid application development by providing up to 26 general purpose I/Os, 20 of which can be assigned to SPI, UART, CAN or other interfaces. All Raspberry Pi signals are 3.3V logic. Associated on-board PolarBerry SoM peripherals include 4Gbyte of 32-bit wide DDR4 memory, 128Mbyte SPI serial NOR flash for storing the boot image and programmable clocks to provide flexible clocking to the FPGA and high-speed transceivers. There is also an RJ45 Ethernet socket with 100/1000Base-T interface, two CAN 2.0 physical layers, a JTAG interface for programming and 4Gbyte of eMMC non-volatile storage. Samtec connectors provide high-speed communication to a carrier board for powerful peripheral customisation. The power consumption of the module is 16W with power in can be applied via the Raspberry Pi interface or carrier board.

The PolarBerry SoM measures 55 x 85mm and has an operational temperature range of 0 to +70 degrees C. It can also be installed on Sundance’s PCIe SoM carrier to provide access to an FMC and additional interfaces.

“With the ability to more easily access the potential of the RISC-V ecosystem, the launch of PolarBerry readily brings an open standard, defence-grade security approach to embedded systems development as a pertinent alternative to Arm,” says Flemming Christensen, managing director of Sundance (UK). He added that RISC-V has a fast growing global market presence that is growing rapidly. “It is royalty-free so it can be used at minimal cost and extensible and you can add features to the instruction set as needed as well as tune it, for example, for lower power or higher throughput,” he said.

PolarBerry is part Microchip Technology’s Get Launched! campaign and has been released now for early adopters, for delivery in January 2021.

Sundance designs, develops, manufactures, and markets internationally high-performance signal processing and reconfigurable systems for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in embedded applications. Leveraging its multiprocessor expertise and experience, Sundance provides OEMs with modular systems as well as data acquisition, I/O, communication and interconnectivity products that are essential to multiprocessor systems where scalability and performance are important.

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