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Micro Hypervisor Targets Automotive Microcontrollers

Jan. 13, 2021
Green Hills Software’s µ-visor enforces hardware separation in microcontrollers.

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New smartphones and HDTVs are not the only announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). For example, Green Hills Software announced its new µ-visor at CES 2021.

The software targets high-availability applications running on multicore microcontrollers like Renesas’ RH850. It's designed to meet critical levels of safety and security such as Automotive (ISO26262 ASIL D), Industrial (IEC61508 SIL 3), and Security (ISO 21434). Typical applications include automotive control systems such as self-driving cars or advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).

The micro hypervisor can run multiple virtual machines on single or multicore hardware, which often includes lock-step cores. It can dedicate cores to virtual machines (VMs) or share cores among multiple VMs (Fig. 1). The µ-visor uses a processor’s hardware features to enforce separation while maintaining access control. Peripherals can be shared among VMs or protected between them with a peripheral bus guard approach.

Green Hills' µ-visor also includes user-configurable fault management. This can be very useful for meeting automotive ASIL D certification requirements. The hypervisor supports callback functions that can be defined for error recovery. These can also log system information for real-time or later analysis. They can be used to control VMs during fault handling and recovery sequences.

The micro hypervisor supports multiple operating systems like AUTOSAR Classic, FreeRTOS, Green Hills’ µ-velOSity, plus custom operating systems. The system supports standards-based, virtual Ethernet API inter-process communication (IPC) channels. Applications on different VMs can use this IPC support to interact with each other.

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