Arm announced the Cortex-A76AE, a new CPU designed for automotive and optimized for 7 nm process nodes. AE stands for “Automotive Enhanced,” and any Arm IP with the AE designator will include specific features addressing the requirements of in-vehicle processing.

According to the company, the Cortex-A76AE is the industry’s first high-performance application processor with Split-Lock capability, combining the processing performance required for autonomous applications and high-integrity safety. While Split-Lock is not new to the industry, Arm is reportedly the first to introduce it to a processor uniquely designed for high-performance automotive applications such as autonomous drive. Split-Lock delivers flexibility not available in previous lock-step CPU implementations. CPU clusters in an a SoC can be configured either in “split mode” for high performance, where two (or four) independent CPUs in the cluster can be used for diverse tasks and applications; or “lock mode,” where CPUs are in lock-step, creating one (or two) pairs of locked CPUs in a cluster for higher safety integrity applications. The CPU clusters can be configured to operate in a mix of either mode, post silicon production.

Car makers can also design their autonomous systems to require watts and not the kilowatts required for today prototypes with the Cortex-A76AE. Lower power enables a more energy-efficient use of vehicle battery power combined with thermal efficiency to aid the packaging of compute capability while extending the range of vehicles for a lower total cost of driving.

To complement the Cortex-A76AE, Arm is introducing new Automotive Enhanced system IP for designing a comprehensive autonomous-class SoC. The new CoreLink GIC-600AE, CoreLink MMU-600AE, and CoreLink CMN-600AE provide critical elements such as high-performance interrupt management, extended virtualization and memory management, and connectivity to multiple CPU clusters to scale performance in safe multicore systems. These products are designed to enable high-performance systems, targeting ASIL-B to ASIL-D safety integrity, and support the Split-Lock and systematic capabilities for functional safety designed into the Cortex-A76AE.

The Cortex-A76AE is the first in a roadmap of “Automotive Enhanced” processors that the company says will deliver the fullest functional safety capable IP portfolio in the industry. The new roadmap includes “Helios-AE” and “Hercules-AE,” all optimized for 7 nm.