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ARM Compiler 6: Simplifying Functional Safety All the Way to Autonomous Driving Systems

To accelerate the process for meeting functional safety requirements, ARM announced today the safety package for its latest-generation C/C++ compilation toolchain ARM Compiler 6.

At one level or another, we’re all excited about smarter, more autonomous cars. Some of us want completely autonomous vehicles right now (“Home, James!”); others just want their cars do take over the drudge work, especially in traffic or cities on the daily commute.

It’s coming. Expanding innovations in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving are transforming the way we drive our cars and, frankly, how we think about buying new cars. To keep up with user demands for more features and functionality, automakers are tackling new challenges with respect to computational performance and time-to-market while ensuring functional safety requirements are prioritized. After all, no matter how excited you are, when you surrender control to your car, you want complete confidence in its abilities. That peace of mind stretches all the way back to the teams who built it and its subsystems.

To accelerate the process for meeting functional safety requirements, ARM announced today the safety package for its latest-generation C/C++ compilation toolchain ARM Compiler 6. The package consists of the safety-certified ARM Compiler toolchain, compiler qualification kit and long-term support and maintenance service. The ARM Compiler 6 safety package simplifies safety certification while also giving developers at automakers and autonomous system OEMs the most efficient C and C++ code-generation tool for their ARM-based hardware platforms.

Jean-Francois Chouteau, Vice President, Global ADAS Centre, Renesas Electronics Corporation, shared his thoughts about how ARM Compiler 6 will help engineers address the design challenges of advanced automotive systems:

“The evolution from ADAS to autonomous driving introduces unprecedented design challenges in terms of compute performance for sensor fusion and decision making as well as energy efficiency and safety. The newest ARM C/C++ Compiler toolchain enables engineers to effectively reconcile these requirements on R-Car platforms for increasingly complex, surround-type systems.”

ARM Compiler 6: Efficiency meets functional safety

ARM Compiler is already widely used in functional safety today in verticals such as medical, avionics, industrial, railway, energy and automotive. ARM engineering has now built on that expertise and further tuned the new compilation toolchain for an increasingly diverse range of safety-related applications across the ARM Cortex-A, Cortex-R and Cortex-M processor families. While ADAS and autonomous driving push the envelope of runtime performance and compute power requirements, systems such as medical devices require minimal memory footprint and high energy efficiency. ARM Compiler 6 delivers on both. On particular synthetic automotive and industrial workloads, for instance, code built with ARM Compiler 6 runs as much as 30 percent faster than when built with its previous generation, ARM Compiler 5. Moreover, further improvements to code size optimization and the tiny C Microlib library enable the toolchain to be used in even the most tightly memory-constrained embedded applications.

The safety package will include the certificate and related reports from TÜV SÜD, a recognized safety industry expert, once the assessment is complete, confirming that ARM Compiler 6 meets the highest level of tool qualification requirements for ISO 26262 (automotive), IEC 61508 (industrial), EN 50128 (railway) and IEC 62304 (medical). Crucially, this means it can be used at any safety integrity level without further qualification efforts in such applications when the qualification kit’s recommendations are followed. The kit, containing a comprehensive set of instructions, safety manual and reports, can also be used as evidence for justifying toolchain selection irrespective of the safety standard targeted. Finally, to ensure peace of mind over the lifetime of safety systems, the certified compiler branch will receive stability patches and bug fixes over an extended maintenance period.


The ARM Compiler 6 safety package will be available as a standalone product, as well as included in ARM DS-5 Development Studio Ultimate (all ARM architectures) and Keil MDK-Professional (Cortex-M devices), from Q2 2017.

Learn more about using ARM Compiler in safety-related applications. It’s one piece of an amazing, global ecosystem that’s building the future of ever-smarter end products.

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Tony Smith
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