RISC-V Processors for Safety and Security

Schematic illustration of a sensor-frontend IC
© Fraunhofer IMS
Schematic illustration of a sensor-frontend IC
Logo of the RISC-V Foundation
© Fraunhofer IMS
Logo of the RISC-V Foundation

The subjects of functional safety and cyber security play an increasingly big role in the specification and the design of modern integrated circuits. These circuits include a specialized analog part and customer-specific interfaces and often also an embedded processor core.

Especially in the selection of the processors that are to be integrated, a suitable architecture is needed that guarantees to fulfill the requirements of functional safety and is robust against cyber-attacks.

Fraunhofer IMS offers secured processor cores on the basis of the open RISC-V architecture. This command set architecture allows for the development of customer-specific special processors for safety and security an enables a high-level optimization of the cores into an application.

In contrast to fully proprietary solutions, these special processors are still supported by a great number of development environments and software packages (e.g. Eclipse IDE or GNU toolchain) due to the uniform command set. In addition, there can be high license fees for the use of other common controller cores (e.g. ARM-M2).

RISC-V for price-sensitive applications

Surface optimized implementations are available as base cores for price-sensitive applications in the industry. In these applications the task of the processor core is typically limited to a specific area, like regulating loops or the linearization of sensor data. These tasks can be solved cost-efficiently with a base core and a few specialized components (coprocessors or peripheral modules).

In these base cores the additional modules for cyber safety, for example secure key memory, crypto accelerators, or manipulation and firmware protection, can be integrated. Fraunhofer IMS offers adapted solutions for trustworthy hardware platforms (secure key memory).

Integrated safety and security functionality

Through the integration of monitoring functions and the redundant interpretation of critical parts of the circuit the use in fail-safe, SIL-certified systems up to SIL3 or ASIL D can be supported.

Secure key memory serves the protection of cryptographic material from manipulation or unauthorized read out. Alternatively, the key material can be extracted directly from the material properties of the manufactured chip, which is called a “Physical Unclonable Function” (PUF).


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

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.


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


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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