ARM Cortex-A9 processor enables real-time processing

Posted By : Nat Bowers
ARM Cortex-A9 processor enables real-time processing

Integrating support for industrial protocols for both automation and industrial drives, the Sitara AM437x processor family has been unveiled by Texas Instruments. The ARM Cortex-A9 -based processors enable the development of applications such as factory automation, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), home automation and Internet of Things (IoT) gateways, human machine interface (HMI), and more.

With features such as dual camera for data terminals with bar code scanning, the processors enable real-time processing with available quad core programmable real-time units (PRUs). This offloads real-time processing from the ARM core to manage deterministic tasks such as controlling motors. It is robust enough to enable complex functions like multiple industrial fieldbus protocols.

A powerful 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 core allows the SoC to offer up to 40% more system performance than the previous generation of Sitara processors. Motor feedback protocols (such as EnDat) or interfaces for sensors and actuators (such as BiSS) are enable with the quad core PRU-ICSs (industrial communications subsystem) connectivity peripheral. This also facilitates dual, simultaneous industrial protocols such as EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Profibus, PROFINET-RT/IRT, POWERLINK, Sercos III, IEC61850.

The on-chip quad core PRU co-processor provides deterministic real-time processing, direct access to I/Os and ultra-low-latency. Specific application needs are addressed with integrated peripheral options including: a dual port 1Gb Ethernet switch for networking; two parallel camera ports for applications such as bar code scanners; two independent (up to 867ksps) eight-channel ADCs for servo motor control, audio sampling and sensor monitoring; an improved Vector Floating Point unit for motor control and audio algorithms; and a 9-channel Sinc3 filter sigma-delta ADC for higher precision current sensing. Enabling colour space conversion, overlays, resizing and more, the Sitara AM437x processors contain up to 512kB of on-chip memory, a POWERVR SGX 3D graphics accelerator and a display subsystem.

TI has also released a general-purpose evaluation module (EVM) for the Sitara AM437x processors, which makes it easy for customers to develop a broad variety of applications, including HMI, portable data terminals, asset tracking, patient monitoring, test and measurement and more. The TMDXEVM437X EVM includes a 7" capacitive touch LCD screen and has a connector to plug in TI’s WiLink 8 combo connectivity modules. It is available now for $599 (USD).

The Sitara AM437x processors will begin sampling this month.


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