Renesas RA8 series of MCUs based on Arm Cortex-M85 processor

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Renesas Electronics has introduced powerful new microcontrollers (MCUs), that can deliver a breakthrough performance of over 3000 CoreMark points, and fully deterministic, low latency, real-time operations.

Suitable for a broad range of applications the RA8 Series MCUs are the first to implement the Arm Cortex-M85 processor, enabling the new devices to deliver 6.39 CoreMark/MHz EEMBC’s CoreMark benchmark that measures the performance of MCUs and CPUs used in embedded systems. performance.

According to Renesas, this level of performance will allow system designers to use the RA MCUs in applications that previously required microprocessors (MPUs). The new series is part of Renesas’ RA Family of MCUs based on Arm Cortex processors. Existing designs built for other RA devices can easily be ported to the new RA8 MCUs.

The RA8 Series deploy Arm Helium technology, Arm’s M-Profile Vector Extension that provides a 4X performance boost for digital signal processor (DSP) and machine learning (ML) implementations versus MCUs based on the Arm Cortex-M7 processor. This performance uplift can enable customers to eliminate an additional DSP in their systems for certain applications.

Renesas has developed a strong position in terms of AI for the edge and endpoint and offers a wide range of embedded AI and TinyML solutions for advanced applications in automotive, industrial and commercial products based on its Reality AI Tools, as well as an extensive portfolio of embedded processing and IoT offerings. This new series will enable edge and endpoint devices to implement natural language processing in voice AI and predictive maintenance applications, using Helium to accelerate the neural network processing.

Commenting Roger Wendelken, Senior Vice President and Head of the MCU Business at Renesas said, “Our customers rely on us to help them navigate new trends and technical challenges. The RA8 Series sets a new bar for MCU performance and features and will ease the implementation of AI in a huge array of new applications.”

“The advent of AI is increasing demand for intelligence at the edge and endpoints to serve new applications across diverse markets including industrial automation, smart home, and medical,” said Paul Williamson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IoT Line of Business, Arm. “Renesas’ new MCUs, built on Arm’s highest-performing and most secure Cortex-M processor to date, are specifically optimised for signal processing and ML workloads, and will be game-changing for innovators looking to address the growing AI opportunities in the embedded and IoT space, without compromising on security.”

The RA8 Series MCUs also offer advanced, leading-edge security. The Cortex-M85 core includes Arm TrustZone technology which enables isolation and secure/non-secure partitioning of memory, peripherals and code. The RA8 Series MCUs also introduce the most advanced Renesas Security IP (RSIP-E51A) that provides leading edge cryptographic accelerators and supports a true secure boot. Other advanced security features include immutable storage for a strong hardware Root-of-Trust, Octal SPI with Decryption-on-the-fly (DOTF), secure authenticated debug, secure factory programming and tamper protection.

Together with Arm TrustZone, this enables comprehensive and fully integrated secure element functionality. The Armv8.1-M architecture introduces Pointer Authentication and Branch Target Identification (PACBTI) security extension that provides mitigation for software attacks targeting memory safety violations and memory corruptions. The RA8 Series also targets PSA Certified Level 2 + Secure Element (SE), NIST CAVP and FIPS 140-3 certifications.

RA8 Series devices also integrate new low power features and multiple low power modes to improve power efficiency, even while providing industry-leading performance. A combination of low power modes, independent power domains, lower voltage range, fast wakeup time and low typical active and standby currents enables lower overall system power and allows customers to meet regulatory requirements. The new Arm Cortex-M85 core also performs various DSP/ML tasks at much lower power.

Renesas said that it has begun volume shipments of the first devices in the RA8 Series, the RA8M1 Group.

Key Features of the RA8M1 Group MCUs include:

Core: 480 MHz Arm Cortex-M85 with Helium and TrustZone

Memory: Integrated 2MB/1MB Flash memory and 1MB SRAM (including TCM, 512KB ECC protected)

Peripherals: xSPI compliant Octal SPI with XIP and decryption-on-the-fly (DOTF), CAN-FD, Ethernet, USBFS/HS, 16-bit camera interface, and I3C, among others

Advanced Security: Leading-edge cryptographic algorithms, TrustZone, immutable storage, tamper resistance with DPA/SPA attack protection, secure debug, secure factory programming and lifecycle management support

Packages: 100/144/176 LQFP, 224 BGA

The new RA8M1 Group MCUs are supported by Renesas’ Flexible Software Package (FSP) which enables faster application development by providing all the infrastructure software needed, including multiple RTOS, BSP, peripheral drivers, middleware, connectivity, networking, and security stacks as well as reference software to build complex AI, motor control and cloud solutions.

It allows customers to integrate their own legacy code and choice of RTOS with FSP, thus providing full flexibility in application development. Using the FSP will ease migration of existing designs to the new RA8 Series devices.