Synopsys and Arm Collaboration -Accelerating Development and Innovation for Arm-based Automotive Systems

Marc Serughetti

Mar 15, 2024 / 4 min read

Synopsys and Arm solutions

Synopsys and Arm Solutions

The automotive industry is going through a revolution. To adapt to new customer demands such as convenience, safety, autonomy, and electrification, the automotive industry is moving to software-driven vehicles. These require new, more powerful electrical/electronic (E/E) architectures that significantly increase the vehicle software content. These requirements force the industry to move from lengthy development cycles and complex maintenance schedules to a more agile development approach allowing for continuous over-the-air (OTA) updates throughout a vehicle’s lifespan.

A wide variety of automotive- targeted Arm IP is used in microcontrollers and system-on-chips (SoCs) is found in automotive electronics systems.  As a leader enabling the automotive supply chain to deploy digital twins of the electronics, Synopsys and Arm have partnered closely for more than two decades to provide optimized solutions to accelerate software development and test for Arm-based designs. In collaboration with Arm, we are expanding our portfolio of solutions to enable automotive developers with the tools to accelerate every stage of the automotive development cycle.

Supporting a Broad Range of Use Cases

The transition to software-defined vehicles impacts both silicon and software. Ensuring that new architectures meet the expected requirements where software can be developed, validated, and maintained efficiently is essential.  Automotive use cases are not performed in isolation, ; they often require collaboration between teams and companies. These collaborations are simplified and enhanced with digital twins. 

Digital twins use cases include:

  • Early architecture exploration for next-generation Arm-based architectures

  • Early software development for new MCUs and SoCs

  • SoC performance and power validation

  • Electronic control unit (ECU),  vehicle platform software, and application software development and test

Integration with Key Technologies

In support of digital twin use cases, Synopsys and Arm have integrated key technologies to provide the automotive supply chain with a solid foundation for the deployment of differentiated solutions from silicon to systems, including:

  • Support for Arm Interconnect Performance Models that enable early architecture exploration in Synopsys Platform Architect.
  • Integration of Arm fast models with Synopsys Virtualizer virtual prototyping tool.
  • Configurable and extendable support for Arm Fixed Virtual pPlatform in Synopsys Virtualizer with Synopsys IP and third-party models.
  • Debug integration with Arm Developer Studio to increase developer productivity.
  • Execution of Arm RTL in Synopsys HAPS® and ZeBu® hardware-assisted verification solutions, enabling hybrid solutions for software bring- up and performance/power validation.

Virtual ECUs for Software Development and System Testing

Automotive Tier 1 companies and OEMs require comprehensive solutions to create and deploy virtual ECUs (vECUs) using Arm-based microcontrollers and SoCs. Synopsys has established a leading position in this area combining technologies, collaboration, and expertise accelerating Arm-based automotive system development, including:

Synopsys VDK automotive collaborations

  • Broad support for vECU from L1 through L4 abstraction with Synopsys Silver (host compiled) and Automotive VDKs (target compiled).

  • Unique center of excellence collaborations with leading automotive semiconductor companies to deliver Automotive VDKs for Level 4 vECUs.

  • Support for hundreds of board-level component models.

  • Multi-ECU integration framework to establish a vehicle level digital twin.

Solution Focused Tool Ecosystem

Automotive systems are complex, encompassing physical parts and electronics (hardware and software) operating in the real world. Electronics simulation must integrate with multi-physics, vehicle dynamics, environment, and sensor simulations for full system digital twins. While simulation is essential to digital twins, they must also provide the interface with the tooling required for specific use cases including analysis, debug, test automation, calibration, and many others. Embedded software must be available as SDKs complementing vECU technologies. Leveraging open APIs, standards, and reference flows, Synopsys has developed a comprehensive ecosystem of partners serving the needs of Arm-based automotive system development with vECUs covering: 

  • Vehicle and environment/sensor simulation. 
  • Embedded software IP from AUTOSAR to POSIX (Adaptive AUTOSAR, LINUX, Android, ROS, QNX, …). 
  • Software debuggers and IDE, test automation, and engineering tools for measurement and calibration. 
  • Support of hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) systems and physical hardware. 

Synopsys technologies are tightly connected, enabling: 

  • Hybrid platforms (Synopsys HAPS and ZeBu with Synopsys Virtualizer and Platform Architect), 
  • Test automation (Synopsys TPT with Silver and Virtualizer), and  
  • Multi abstraction simulation (Synopsys Silver and Virtualizer). 

These integrations are key to accelerating development of Arm-based automotive systems.

Cloud-Based Environments Optimized for Arm

Scalability is critical to enable virtually driving billions of miles, executing thousands of scenarios in parallel, sweeping through hundreds of parameters, or increasing test coverage. Synopsys has developed cloud deployment reference flows integrating Arm-based models to support these large data sets. In addition, the increasing need for the industry to collaborate on design, verification, and validation makes cloud-based development a perfect environment. 

Cloud-based providers offer a wide range of hosts to optimize workloads including Arm-based hosts. This provides the opportunity to leverage virtualization technologies for simulation. Synopsys has developed a comprehensive set of technologies to leverage the power of Arm-based host servers for simulation optimization that can be combined with other technologies to provide a multi abstraction, distributed, and speed-optimized environment for full automotive system (multi-ECU, multi-domain) deployment.  

Industry Collaboration and Customer Success

The Synopsys and Arm collaboration extends beyond technology and ecosystem integrations, with involvement in consortiums such as SOAFEE, and development of reference flows with ecosystem partners that enable the automotive industry to rapidly evolve towards software-defined vehicles. Synopsys engineering and field organizations collaborate continuously to ensure that automotive customers can successfully deploy digital twins to accelerate their path to development, deployment, and maintenance of software-defined vehicles.


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