TI looks to advance real-time control, networking and analytics applications at the edge

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Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced a new high-performance microcontroller (MCU) portfolio that it says will advance real-time control, networking and analytics applications at the edge.

The Sitara AM2x MCUs from TI, will enable engineers to achieve 10 times the computing capability of traditional, flash-based MCUs and, according to the company, this high-performance portfolio will help to close the growing gap between today’s MCUs and processors, enabling designers to push the limits in applications such as factory automation, robotics, automotive systems and sustainable energy management.

“Demands for industrial automation, next-generation vehicles, intelligent analytics, and higher levels of connectivity are all fueling the need for fast, accurate microcontrollers at the edge. Delivering more advanced, power-efficient processing to distributed systems is one of the critical next steps in Industry 4.0,” said Chris Morris, senior research analyst at Omdia.

Built around high-performance Arm MCU cores, the Sitara portfolio includes single and multicore devices running at speeds up to 1 GHz and integrates specialized peripherals and accelerators.

“Designers increasingly need higher performance at a lower system cost to keep up with the demand for precise control, fast communications and complex analytics. In our new portfolio, TI’s processing, real-time control and advanced networking come together, enabling engineers to break performance barriers in new, emerging applications,” said Mike Pienovi, general manager for Sitara MCU at TI.

The AM243x MCUs, the first family of devices available in the AM2x portfolio, feature up to four Arm Cortex-R5F cores, each running up to 800 MHz. This high processing speed is critical in factory equipment such as robotics, where fast computations coupled with the MCU’s internal memory enhance a robot’s precision of motion and speed of movement, translating to higher productivity.

The additional processing capability enables designers to add analytics for functions such as predictive maintenance, reducing downtime on factory floors. In typical applications, AM243x devices can achieve this level of performance while consuming less than 1 W of active power, enabling factory operators to extend their power resources, lowering both their operating costs and energy footprint.

Sitara AM243x MCUs integrate sensing and actuation peripherals to enable low-latency real-time processing and control for factory automation as well as communications accelerators to simplify industrial networking. These devices expand upon TI’s support of multiple gigabit industrial Ethernet protocols and time-sensitive networking (TSN), enabling next-generation factory networks.

With AM243x, engineers will be able to leverage certified protocol stacks available directly from TI to support EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT, PROFINET, IO-Link Master and others to meet evolving industrial communication standards. On-chip security features on the AM243x MCUs support the latest encryption requirements, and integrated functional safety mechanisms, diagnostics and collateral help enable system integrators to target up to Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3 of the IEC 61508 standard with their industrial designs.

To reduce the complexity of design and development, TI has also created the Sitara AM243x LaunchPad Development Kit, which supports the quick evaluation of high-performance MCUs. With this evaluation tool and the Sitara MCU+ software framework, developers can immediately start using the precision real-time control and out-of-the-box networking capabilities in the AM243x MCU.

Developers also have access to application-specific reference examples, a strong ecosystem of tools and software, and the MCU+ Academy training portal to help them streamline designs and accelerate time to market.