RISC-V is a new instruction set architecture (ISA) designed to be scalable for a wide variety of applications. It’s easy to implement and has an open source license. This, together with Microsemi’s leading role in RISC-V, makes it interesting for Trinamic to explore new possibilities using RISC-V.
Every embedded motor control solution consists of both hardware and software. As motor control solutions are closely connected to mechanics and typically have a long product lifetime, they require much more reliable microcontroller platforms than for example user interfaces. ARM has been a reliable, stable and powerful platform over the past years. But the tendency towards consolidation of manufacturers offering M-Series ARM-controllers and the licensing model call for a new, open instruction set controller type to assure long term availability and development.
For decades, software engineers, hardware engineers, product managers, and CEOs have been either developing their own Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) or developing products that use ISAs developed by third-parties. Today, there are two architectures dominating the industry (ARM and x86), with a few others trailing behind (ARC, MIPS, Power, and Tensilica). The majority of research and development invested in all other ISAs is made obsolete by the consolidation phase – both valuable time and money flushed away.
To keep up with the pace of technological advancement, it’s imperative that both time and money are spent efficiently. One way to do so is to create an architecture that has the potential to become the industry’s standard – which is why Trinamic joined RISC-V. RISC-V is a new ISA designed to be scalable for a wide variety of applications. Easy to implement, it’s now set to become a standard open architecture for industry implementations, mitigating the risk of depending on a few manufacturers.
Microsemi Corporation is one of the early implementers of this new technology for industrial use offering RISC-V cores for their FPGAs. Trinamic has a long and successful partnership with Microsemi – the majority of Trinamic’s components are prototyped and developed on or with Microsemi’s formerly ACTEL FPGAs and SoCs. Many of our advanced products are based on Microsemi SoCs, including the SmartFusion Series, which embeds a Cortex microcontroller core to handle protocol stacks or application code.
Microsemi’s decision to offer RISC-V cores for their FPGAs opens up a new level of integration of motion control peripherals with application processors to Trinamic, using reliable microcontrollers that will stay available.