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RISC-V tapped to bolster EU semiconductor concerns with new accelerator project

The new RISC-V accelerator's major investors. (Source: Qualcomm)
The new RISC-V accelerator's major investors. (Source: Qualcomm)
The instruction set architecture (ISA) RISC-V is increasingly seen as a chip-designing goldmine, mostly thanks to its open-source nature. However, it still needs commercial support to drive its adoption, according to big industry players such as Qualcomm Technologies, NXP Semiconductors and Bosch. To this end, they will fund a new, EU-based body intended to help optimize RISC-V for next-gen automotive and wireless applications.

RISC-V is increasingly touted as the biggest alternative to ARM in the future, especially as demand for new chips for automotive and low-power IoT-like use-cases - mostly because the latter is closed-source, whereas the former is not.

Accordingly, semiconductor-design giants such as Qualcomm Technologies hail RISC-V as a driver of industrial R&D, making the ability to "develop cutting-edge, customized hardware" available to any OEM, regardless of its size and resources. This is probably why it has announced the intention to become a stakeholder in what might be the equivalent of ARM's corporate entity for RISC-V - just without the IP lockdown.

It will apparently take the form of a "company aimed at advancing the adoption of RISC-V globally by enabling next-generation hardware development". It will be based in Germany, from where it will apparently become a definitive source of polished, OEM-ready "products" based on the ISA, not to mention pre-packaged reference architectures and solutions.

Then again, this company's potential place in the "EU semiconductor ecosystem" and its role in the production of next-gen SoCs for the cars, wireless technology and perhaps even mobile devices of the future is still pending regulatory approval (and, apparently, a choice of name at present). Nevertheless, it already has some high-profile investors: Infineon Technologies AG; Nordic Semiconductor; NXP Semiconductors and Robert Bosch GmbH, as well as Qualcomm itself.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 08 > RISC-V tapped to bolster EU semiconductor concerns with new accelerator project
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2023-08- 6 (Update: 2023-08- 7)