Synopsys Collaborates with Arm to Drive Automotive Design Excellence

Stewart Williams

Mar 13, 2024 / 4 min read

In certain parts of the world, seeing a self-driving car on the road is no longer a surprise. To adapt to new driver demands such as convenience, safety, autonomy, and electrification, the automotive industry is moving to software-defined vehicles (SDVs). These require new, more powerful electrical/electronic (E/E) architectures while significantly increasing vehicle software content. To be competitive, OEMs need new approaches to SDV development so that they can get to market faster with their innovations.

As the automotive industry reimagines how its products are developed in the era of SDVs, they need high-performance, power-efficient silicon that can execute increasing software workloads. Synopsys enables the Arm®-based automotive supply chain from the development of Arm-based optimized silicon to the validation of the vehicle software. From early architecture exploration through silicon design and verification, automotive-grade IP, and the deployment of digital twins of the electronics, Synopsys solutions are co-optimized with Arm to accelerate SDV innovation and time to market while reducing cost.

“The transition to SDVs requires the automotive industry to rethink development processes and leverage new design methodologies like digital twins,” said Suraj Gajendra, vice president of products and solutions, Automotive Line of Business, Arm. “Collaborating with industry partners like Synopsys to optimize the design of automotive solutions on Arm Automotive Enhanced technology is key to improving the speed and overall cost of deploying SDVs.”   

automotive semiconductor design

How Digital Twins Shift Automotive Semiconductor Design Left

The increased focus on vehicle software content is forcing the automotive industry to migrate from its traditionally long development cycles and complex maintenance schedules to a more agile approach that supports continuous over-the-air (OTA) updates throughout a vehicle’s lifespan. Digital twins of the electronics can help shift automotive development left, enabling early hardware/software integration and frontload testing. Providing virtual representations of systems under development, digital twins can be used to model automotive SoCs, the software, the electrical system, and even the entire car. Some use cases for automotive digital twins include:

  • Early architecture exploration for next-generation Arm-based architectures
  • Early software development (before silicon availability) for new MCUs and SoCs
  • SoC performance and power validation
  • Electronic control unit (ECU), vehicle platform software, and application software development and test

Synopsys and Arm have teamed up to integrate key technologies in support of digital twin use cases, providing a full range of models for the latest generation of safety-enabled Arm Automotive Enhanced (AE) technologies. On the Synopsys side, this includes Synopsys Platform Architect™ SoC architecture analysis and optimization solution, Synopsys Virtualizer™ virtual prototyping solution, and Synopsys ZeBu® and HAPS® hardware-assisted verification platforms. For architecture optimization, Arm Interconnect Performance Models are supported by Platform Architect. Arm Fast Models, functionally accurate programmer’s view models of Arm CPU and system IP, are integrated with the Virtualizer tool to enable software development before hardware availability. Arm Fixed Virtual Platforms, pre-configured simulations of popular system configurations, are supported by the Virtualizer tool with Synopsys IP and third-party models. Arm RTL can be executed in the ZeBu and HAPS platforms for power and performance validation and supporting hybrid solutions with Synopsys Virtualizer for software bring-up.

In addition, Synopsys design and verification solutions including full-stack AI-driven EDA suite and Fusion QuickStart Implementation Kits are optimized for the highest levels of performance and power, helping our customers speed the development and delivery of optimized Arm-based SoC designs on the latest 3nm/2nm gate-all-around (GAA) technologies. For Arm-based automotive designs, Synopsys design and verification solutions for functional safety support our mutual customers’ compliance with ISO 26262.

Synopsys is also a voting member of an industry-led collaborative project in the automotive industry designed to make software development, testing, and validation more effective and efficient. The Scalable Open Architecture for Embedded Edge (SOAFEE) project intends to produce a cloud-native architecture supported by open-source reference implementations for a variety of automotive applications. It builds on technologies that define standard boot and security requirements for the Arm architecture. 

Teaming Up for Software-Defined Vehicle Success

Autonomous functions, electrification, connectivity, and a smartphone-like in-vehicle experience all require massive amounts of compute power, affecting how the chips themselves are designed. Whether the processing demands are fulfilled by monolithic SoCs or multi-die designs, engineers still must balance the need to minimize power consumption, heat dissipation, and real estate. These are among the chip-centric challenges that the ecosystem is working together to help solve.

synopsys arm collaboration automotive semiconductors

In our role in this ecosystem, Synopsys provides design and verification solutions, as well as silicon-proven interface, security, and silicon lifecycle management (SLM) process, voltage, and temperature (PVT) IP tofoster development of safe, secure, reliable, and high-quality automotive chips and systems. For example, Synopsys SLM IP can be integrated into Arm-based cores to monitor chip health from development to in-field to measure and optimize performance for semiconductor lifecycle statistics, mission profile measurement, and in-field failure diagnostics. Our cloud deployment reference flows that integrate Arm-based models support key use cases, from enabling virtual driving of billions of miles to increasing test coverage. Our technologies are aligned with the ISO 26262 functional safety standard and can help designers meet the vehicle cybersecurity framework outlined by ISO/SAE 21434. In addition, our experts participate in various automotive standards organizations to share their insights and contribute to the development of SDVs. And our own broad ecosystem of partners is ready to support Arm-based automotive system development with virtual ECUs.

Learn More

Together, Synopsys, Arm, and the rest of the ecosystem are poised to usher in new levels of innovation to drive greater intelligence and sophistication into next-generation software-defined vehicles. Learn more about our virtual prototyping solutions for Arm.

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