When Arm first launched Flexible Access in 2019, the vision was to provide easier, faster access to our portfolio of technologies, with the ability for companies to start developing their own silicon products and only license any IP included in their design before taping out. This gives Flexible Access partners low cost, or for early-stage startups zero cost, access to a wide choice of technologies when they are designing their systems-on-a-chip (SoCs). The package covers over 80 Arm IP products in total, accounting for 70 percent of our most used portfolio.
The results so far have been impressive. Currently, more than 200 established companies are signed up to Flexible Access, more than 70 of which are early-stage startups who have signed up to Arm Flexible for Startups.
As Arm’s Flexible Access partners continue to share their ambitious plans to increase performance and add new capabilities to their SoC designs for a variety of new, more advanced use cases, we have responded through adding new IP, solutions and technologies to the program. This is because we want to help companies who are designing the next big SoC innovations to thrive in the age of AI. This reflects a wider commitment from Arm to deliver licensing models that allow partners to accelerate innovation across the fast-paced, ever-changing computing landscape.
A growing range of IP, technologies and solutions
In May 2023, we added Arm Cortex-A55 CPU, one of Arm’s most popular IP designs to the broad portfolio of Arm IP available through Flexible Access. Now we are delighted to add a range of new IP, subsystems, and technologies to the program. This gives companies the perfect foundation to start developing and innovate their silicon prototypes with the lowest risk path for the widest range of applications, markets and use cases.
The new technology additions to Flexible Access include the following:
Arm Cortex-M85, which integrates Arm Helium Technology, is the highest performing Cortex-M processor and natural choice for IoT applications that require AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities, high performance and advanced security.
As part of the Cortex-M85 IP offering for Flexible Access, we also provide a functional safety package and Arm’s Processor Implementation Kit, a leading implementation solution for Arm microprocessor technology that delivers the fastest path to take Arm IP to silicon. The aim of this new package is to provide the highest levels of performance, security, and safety, alongside the quickest time-to-market for Arm Flexible Access partners.
Corstone-310 is Arm’s high-performance solution for voice recognition applications, but also provides the perfect starting point for AI-capable SoCs across IoT markets. Through Flexible Access, Corstone-310 includes an example subsystem based on the Cortex-M85 CPU and Ethos-U55 NPU, which is already available through Flexible Access but as part of this package also offers accelerated machine learning (ML) support. Alongside the AI, performance and security capabilities from being Arm’s most advanced microcontroller subsystem, Corstone-310 makes it easier than ever for Flexible Access partners to build SoC designs for IoT applications and use cases.
Mali-G310 brings a broad range of graphics performance benefits to low-cost consumer tech devices, from TVs and set-top boxes to low-cost augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices. The GPU integrates Arm Frame Buffer Compressions (AFBC) and Arm Fixed-Rate Compression (AFRC) image compression technologies that save system bandwidth and power. The AFBC and AFRC technologies are both available separately as part of Arm Flexible Access.
Mali-C55is a versatile image signal processor (ISP) for a wide range of IoT, embedded and ML applications, including smart cameras, hobby drones and robots.
From our Cortex and Mali Multimedia processors to system IP and Corstone subsystems, Flexible Access offers something for any company looking to get started on their silicon journey. This is bolstered by worldwide access to Arm training and support throughout the product development process.
Arm Flexible Access partner success
For companies that have signed up for Flexible Access, the results from the program have been impressive. Many have been able to accelerate their own product development process and have already taped out their SoC designs.
Hailo, a company that has gone from strength-to-strength since joining Arm Flexible Access, believes that the design flexibility and access to proven IP technology are crucial benefits for companies in the early stages of product design. Hailo’s co-founder and chief technologist Avi Baum says: “Our technology needs to work first time and the technology contributed by the ecosystem has to be just as trustworthy.” This is the value of Arm and the Flexible Access program.
Early-stage startups that have signed up to Flexible Access for Startups have also seen impressive benefits and results from the program.
Eray Erdogan, Co-Founder of HEX Microchip, says: “Arm’s proven IP, tools and support have helped us manage risk and start on a solid foundation, which has been a bastion of confidence leading us to success.” The startup will begin the tapeout of its product in early 2024.
Another startup that is looking to tapeout in 2024 is weeteq, which is developing cutting-edge AI technology for industrial IoT applications. Its founder and CEO, Dr. Taner Dosluoglu, says: “Arm Flexible Access for Startups provides access to state-of-the-art technology and global ecosystem partners, at no cost. It is already hard for startups to develop circuit-level AI solutions, but impossible without this program.”
A commitment to the Flexible Access community
The fact that so many Flexible Access customers have been able to move quickly with their SoC designs highlights the strength of the technology offering and the program. Consistently adding more value through the addition of new IP and subsystems, on top of the benefits that tools, training and support provide demonstrates Arm’s commitment to Flexible Access customers as they look to target a growing range of applications across a broad spectrum of markets.
We are committed to ensuring that Flexible Access customers can build their innovative products and solutions as effectively and efficiently as possible on Arm.
Find out more about how to get started with Arm Flexible Access here.
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