Trusted Electronics

Guiding principle of the application field

In everyday life, society will have to trust more and more electronic components. In this context, there is an increasing need for information security alongside resilience and the desire to effectively prevent dangerous failures. This concerns the confidentiality of sensitive data as well as protection against IP theft, malicious tampering or inferior plagiarism. However, trustworthy electronics also means the availability of supply chains or independence from only a few suppliers. The Fraunhofer IMS is therefore helping to shape European technological sovereignty in the field of electronics in the thematic area of "trustworthy electronics - TE". The aim is to provide industry with components that meet the highest safety and security requirements. These should effectively protect partners and customers from product piracy and manipulation attempts, as well as guarantee trustworthy supply chains and secure data transmission.

While in the past information security was often subordinated to safety in case of doubt, the Fraunhofer IMS is working on methods and technologies to combine these aspects in the design and use of electronic components without compromise. In this context, open hardware standards such as the free RISC-V instruction set architecture are of particular importance, as they allow a large degree of independence from individual companies in the development and manufacturing of application-specific embedded processors. Fraunhofer IMS combines its experience in the development of sensors and signal processing with its expertise in fail-safe electronics and security by design to offer its customers optimized electronic components.

Photo of a mixed-signal CMOS IC
© Fraunhoer IMS
Photo of a mixed-signal CMOS IC
Safety and Security Protection goals
© Fraunnhofer IMS
Safety and Security Protection goals

Our offer: Safety and Security without compromise

The topics of functional safety and cyber security are playing an increasingly important role in the specification and design of modern integrated circuits. These circuits often include embedded processor cores in addition to a specialized analog part and customer-specific interfaces.

In particular, the selection of processors to be integrated raises the question of a suitable architecture that ensures functional safety requirements and is robust against all kinds of attacks.

Fraunhofer IMS offers hardened processor cores based on the open RISC-V architecture. This instruction set architecture allows the development of customized special processors for Safety & Security and enables a high-level optimization of the cores to an application. In contrast to completely proprietary solutions, these special processors are still supported by a large number of development environments and software packages (e.g. Eclipse IDE or GNU toolchain) thanks to the uniform instruction set. In addition, the mostly high licensing costs for the use of other common controller cores are eliminated.

With the AIRISC family of embedded RISC-V processors, Fraunhofer IMS offers efficient hardware for sensor applications and embedded AI in fail-safe systems and with special attention to the protection of the contained IP. We combine our sensor technologies with digital signal processing and analysis to create Smart Sensor Systems.

Reliable protection of IP and data

To protect AI algorithms and learning data from IP theft, chips can be equipped with firmware encryption. The chips protect their memory content against external access by means of built-in encryption and offer hardware acceleration for the most popular encryption algorithms.

With this development, the IMS extends its offering for trusted hardware (Trusted Electronics) to the area of embedded AI and specifically relies on open hardware standards such as RISC-V. Softcores for various FPGA platforms as well as optimized software libraries can be provided for evaluation. Chips are available from spring 2020, and integration into customer-specific ASIC developments is possible immediately. This also includes the possibility to extend the RISC-V core with customer specific modules and instructions.

Trusted Embedded AI with RISC-V


RISC-V core for safety and security applications
RISC-V core for safety and security applications

Our applications - Examples of what we can do for you

GaN- power modules - PENTA Program »GaNext«

The GaNext project is developing an intelligent power module based on GaN devices.

Secure key storage for Industry 4.0

Random manufacturing variations as an individual fingerprint and thus a physically unclonable function offer more security for Industry 4.0.

RISC-V Processors for Safety and Security

Fraunhofer IMS offers functional safety and cyber security through processor cores based on RISC V.


In the BMBF project Velektronik, the networking of all actuators in the field of manufacturing trustworthy electronics is being advanced together with FMD.


Quantum random number generators with SPAD-based sensors for secure encryption


In the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's lead project NeurOSmart, five institutes are jointly researching particularly energy-efficient and intelligent sensors for the next generation of autonomous systems.

Our fields of application - Our expertise for you

Sustainable Production

  • Optimization of raw material and energy use
  • Use of alternative energy sources and energy-autonomous sensors
  • Green ICT

Mobile autonomous Manufacturing

  • Sensors / Control for Robots / Cobots
  • Industrial transport systems (AGV)
  • Human-Machine Interaction


  •  Decentralized AI systems and platforms
  • Sensor/actuator optimization and cost efficiency through local AI.
  • Pattern recognition methods

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