Renesas targets voice/vision multi-modal AI applications with RA8D1 series

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Renesas Electronics has introduced the RA8D1 microcontroller (MCU) group, the second in Renesas’ RA8 Series, the first MCUs based on the Arm Cortex-M85 processor.

RA8D1 MCUs deliver performance of over 6.39 CoreMark/MHz, EEMBC’s CoreMark benchmark measures performance of MCUs and CPUs used in embedded systems, combined with significant amounts of memory, graphics and peripheral functions that have been optimised to address diverse graphics display solutions, and Voice/Vision Multimodal AI requirements for a range of applications across different market segments.

All RA8 Series MCUs take advantage of the high performance of the Arm Cortex-M85 processor and Arm’s Helium technology with a vector/SIMD instruction set extension that provides up to a 4X performance boost for digital signal processor (DSP) and machine learning (ML) implementations over the Cortex-M7 core.

This added performance is suitable for graphics and neural network processing and can eliminate the need for a separate hardware accelerator in some applications.

These devices also offer advanced security including Arm TrustZone technology, Renesas Security IP (RSIP-E51A), Secure Boot with first stage bootloader in immutable storage, Octal SPI interface with Decryption-on-the-fly (DOTF), and Pointer Authentication and Branch Target Identification (PACBTI) security extension.

RA8D1 devices include a high-resolution graphics LCD controller with parallel RGB and MIPI-DSI interfaces to LCD display panels, a 2D graphics drawing engine, a 16-bit camera interface (CEU), multiple external memory interfaces for storage of frame buffer and graphics assets, and 176 and 224 pin packages.

This feature set is combined with professional quality graphics user interface software solutions from SEGGER emWin and Microsoft GUIX fully integrated into the Renesas Flexible Software Package (FSP). Renesas also provides support for open-source Light and Versatile Graphics Library (LVGL) and a robust network of graphics and AI ecosystem partners.

A full-featured graphics evaluation kit with LCD panel and camera module rounds out the solution and provides a robust development platform for graphics applications including: industrial HMI, video doorbells, patient monitors, graphics calculators, security panels, printer display panels, and appliance displays.

“There is growing demand for high-quality displays to improve user experiences,” said Daryl Khoo, Vice President of the IoT Platform Division at Renesas. “These new devices take advantage of the unprecedented performance of the Cortex-M85 core and Helium technology to meet our customers increasing requirements for better display solutions and fast-growing vision AI implementations such as people and object detection, face recognition, image classification, and pose estimation.”

 Key Features of the RA8D1 Group MCUs

  • Core: 480 MHz Arm Cortex-M85 with Helium and TrustZone
  • Memory: Integrated 2MB/1MB Flash memory and 1MB SRAM (including TCM, 512KB ECC protected)
  • Graphics Peripherals: Graphics LCD controller supporting resolutions up to WXGA (1280x800), parallel RGB and MIPI-DSI interfaces to external LCD and/or TFT display, powerful 2D drawing engine, 16bit CEU camera interface, 32bit external SDRAM interface
  • Other Peripherals: Ethernet, XSPI (Octal SPI) with XIP and DOTF, SPI, I2C/I3C, SDHI, USBFS/HS, CAN-FD, SSI, 12bit ADC & DAC, comparators, temperature sensor, timers
  • Advanced Security: Leading-edge cryptographic algorithms, TrustZone, Secure Boot, immutable storage, tamper resistance with DPA/SPA attack protection, secure debug, secure factory programming and lifecycle management support
  • Packages: 176-pin LQFP, 224-pin BGA

RA8D1 Group MCUs are supported by Renesas’ Flexible Software Package (FSP). The FSP 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.