During the Wuzhen Internet Conference, Brother Pingtou announced to open source its low-power microcontroller chip (MCU) design platform, becoming the first enterprise in China to promote the open source of the chip platform.
The platform is oriented to the needs of customized chip design in the AIoT era. The target groups include chip design companies, IP suppliers, universities and research institutes. Developers all over the world can design customized chips for subdivisions based on the platform, IP suppliers can develop core IP native to the platform, and universities and research institutes can carry out chip-related teaching and research activities.
The platform includes modules such as processor, basic interface IP, operating system, software drivers and development tools. It is equipped with Xuantie 902 processor based on RISC-V architecture and provides a variety of IP and drivers, allowing users to quickly integrate, verify, reduce Basic module development cost. More IP and Xuantie processors will be opened in the future.
The open source code of the platform includes two parts: basic hardware code and supporting software code, which have been published in the GitHub open source community.
(The MCU chip design platform is on the GitHub source code page)
Traditional MCU (Micro Controller Unit), also known as single-chip microcomputer and microcontroller, is a chip-level computer that integrates CPU, RAM, ROM, timer counter and various I/O interfaces into one chip. As the core component of embedded devices, MCU is widely used in communications, consumer electronics, automotive electronics, and industrial control, and is the chip type with the largest market demand.
In the AIoT era, most IoT devices need to be equipped with next-generation MCU chips to realize complex tasks such as sensing, communication, information processing, computing, and issuing control commands. Having AI capabilities and cloud access capabilities is the biggest difference between next-generation MCU chips and traditional MCU chips.
The development of Internet of Things technology is bound to promote the rapid growth of demand for next-generation MCU chips. Research firm IC Insights predicts that global MCU chip shipments will be 26.9 billion in 2019, and that number will increase to 38.2 billion by 2023, when MCU chip sales are expected to reach $21.3 billion.
Meng Jianyi, a researcher at Alibaba and vice president of Pingtou Ge semiconductor, believes that since the open source of the RISC-V core, open source has become a new trend in the chip field. Customization gives the chip industry the opportunity to solve the problem of application fragmentation in the AIoT era.