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ROScube-I, powered by Intel technology, now supports ACRN™ real-time hypervisor for flexible, reliable, and scalable development of AI-based robotic applications

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On January 6th, ADLINK announced that their ROScube-I ROS 2 controller, powered by Intel technology, is one of the first robotic controllers to support ACRN™ real-time hypervisor. The ACRN community congratulates the ADLINK team on this important milestone that allows mixed real-time and application workload consolidation on a single Edge platform.

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor that optimizes and streamlines embedded development through an open-source platform. Built with real-time safety in mind, ACRN defines a device hypervisor reference stack and an architecture for running multiple software subsystems as shown below), managed securely on a consolidated system using a virtual machine manager (VMM). ACRN hypervisor takes advantage of Intel Virtualization Technology (Intel VT) and supports User VM and Service VM to run a User OS and Service OS, real-time VM (RTVM), and is designed to run a real-time OS, such as Xenomai. Because of its real-time capability, RTVM can be used for soft programmable logic controller (PLC), inter-process communication (IPC), and robotics applications.

Read more about getting started with ACRN on the ADLINK ROScube-I in the ACRN documentation: https://projectacrn.github.io/latest/getting-started/roscube/roscube-gsg.html

“ADLINK’s adoption of ACRN is a great testimonial to the maturity of the project, as an open-source real-time hypervisor for the most demanding applications,” said Eddie Dong, Project ACRN’s architect and maintainer. “The collaboration between ADLINK and Project ACRN has been a true win-win situation; using ACRN hypervisor to consolidate heterogeneous workloads brings added value and unleashes the computing power of the ROSCube-I platform. It puts ACRN at the heart of a commercial solution for industrial customers.”

“Virtualization is especially important in industrial environments because of device and application longevity. Virtualization enables factories to modernize their robot control system hardware by using VMs to run older control systems and operating systems far beyond their intended retirement dates,” said Dr. Ryan Chen, Director of the Advanced Robotic Platform Group at ADLINK. “Our customers can leverage this technology on our ROScube-I controller, for example, to run human-machine interfaces (HMI) in User OS, run artificial intelligence (AI) in Service OS and leave some compute function running on soft programmable logic controllers (PLC) that require hard real-time characteristics. This gives customers the ultimate in future-proof flexibility and reliability, allowing them to scale up development.”

“Robotic controllers based on Intel hardware and software platforms enable flexible, reliable and scalable solutions for some of the most advanced robotics applications. Real-time hypervisors, Intel Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit and Intel architecture make it easy to integrate data, devices, and processes while improving operational efficiency. Intel and ADLINK are both active contributors to the ROS 2 community and it is great to see this work in action,” said Brian McCarson, Vice President, Internet of Things Group at Intel Corporation.

Check out the ADLINK full press release for more details: https://www.adlinktech.com/en/News/ADLINK-ROScube-I-ROS-2-controller-now-with-ACRN-real-time-hypervisor

Linux Foundation’s ACRN Hypervisor Achieves First Commercial Product Integration with TTTech Industrial

By Blog, Press

ACRN to be used in industrial applications on the Nerve Blue edge computing platform

VIENNA and SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 9, 2020 — IoT Solutions provider TTTech Industrial today is launching the first commercial product based on the Linux Foundation’s ACRN™ hypervisor for the industrial market. With the latest release of its Nerve Blue industrial edge computing platform, TTTech Industrial is making ACRN 2.0 available to customers in a commercial, fully supported software solution that runs on a variety of Intel processors in an array of industrial applications. ACRN Project members include ADLINK, Aptiv, Intel Corporation, LGE and Neusoft Corporation.

ACRN™ is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor built with real-time processing and safety-criticality in mind. When developing ACRN 2.0, the community prioritized three key requirements for hypervisors in the Industrial IoT and edge environments: functional safety, real-time processing and resource sharing for additional flexibility. TTTech Industrial and Intel are actively engaged in the project and have worked together to shape ACRN technology and rapidly integrate it into the Nerve Blue edge computing platform.

“The ACRN community is accelerating embedded development for the integration of heterogenous, real-time applications in edge environments. This milestone really represents what the technical features that set ACRN apart,” said Mike Dolan, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Projects, Linux Foundation. “As the project and integrations mature, we expect even more contributions and innovations to result from this open source collaboration.”

Nerve Blue’s integration of ACRN 2.0 allows it to run PLC software for controlling high-speed machine functions alongside other less time-sensitive software applications on the same hardware platform. Nerve Blue leverages ACRN 2.0’s unique features and optimizations to create special virtual environments that support cycle times down to 500μs for low-latency applications. For example, an injection molding machine containing a standard industrial PC can now be fitted with Nerve Blue software to run its injection pressure control, Human-Machine Interface (HMI), gateway, data analytics, and predictive maintenance functions all on the same device – delivering considerable hardware savings and aiding more efficient machine operation.

“We are very proud to offer the first commercial implementation of ACRN for the industrial market,” says Thomas Berndorfer, Member of the Executive Board, TTTech Industrial. “Nerve Blue already provides users a highly virtualized environment for running machine software on standard industrial PCs. Now with the integration of ACRN 2.0 we have been able to extend our platform to safely and securely host software for controlling the most critical elements within a machine. Nerve Blue together with ACRN 2.0 will make a real impact for our customers as they seek to improve machine efficiency and reduce costs.”

Nerve Blue is available today on Intel Atom processor E3900 series, Intel Celeron processor N3350, and Intel Pentium processor N4200 (Apollo Lake) platforms, 8th Generation Intel Core U-Series (Whiskey Lake) processors. Early next year, Nerve Blue will be available for Intel Atom x6000E Series and Intel Pentium and Celeron N and J Series Processors for Internet of Things (IoT) Applications (Elkhart Lake). A free trial-version of Nerve Blue can be accessed via www.tttech-industrial.com/try-nerve-blue. For a 30-day period, users can experience remote software management and virtualized application hosting for themselves without any need to download special software or set up hardware.

“This collaboration between TTTech Industrial, Intel and Project ACRN will enable the next generation of industrial solutions,” said Brian McCarson, Vice President and Sr. Principal Engineer, Internet of Things Group at Intel Corporation. “The powerful combination of Intel industrial hardware and software platforms and ACRN’s open-source, real-time hypervisor is bringing scalable and reliable solutions to the most demanding real-time applications.”

About the ACRN Project
ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor that is built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind. It is optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform. ACRN Project members include ADLINK, Aptiv, Intel Corporation, LGE, and Neusoft Corporation. To learn more about the project, visit projectacrn.org.

The Linux Foundation has registered trademarks and uses trademarks. For a list of trademarks of The Linux Foundation, please see its trademark usage page:www.linuxfoundation.org/trademark-usage. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

Media Contact
Jennifer Cloer
Story Changes Culture
503-867-2304
jennifer@storychangesculture.com

ACRN Release Version 2.3

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The ACRN 2.3 release supports enhanced GPU passthrough on 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, ivshmem interrupt support, end-to-end secure boot improvements, enhanced system shutdown, and removal of deprivileged boot mode.

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Project ACRN makes waves with Functional Safety Certification Concept Approval

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ACRN has successfully received concept approval from TÜV SÜD Rail GmbH for its functional safety concept, design and management process in place. The concept approval letter claims that, “ACRN Hypervisor is able to fulfill the requirements in accordance with SIL 3 of the IEC 61508 standard.”

IEC 61508 is considered as the “Golden Standard” in the functional safety industry. ACRN is on track to receive the final functional safety certification by the end of 2020.

Read more in the Linux Foundation newsroom post, “The ACRN™ Open Source Hypervisor for IoT Development Announces ACRN v2.0 and Functional Safety Certification Concept Approval”

ACRN Release Version 1.6

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We are pleased to announce the release of ACRN™ Hypervisor version 1.6, which introduces a number of new features.

What’s new in v1.6

  • Graphics pass-through support
    • The hypervisor and Service VM support pass-through graphics device to target DM-launched guest VMs, based on GVT-d.
  • SRIOV support
    • The ACRN hypervisor allows an SRIOV-capable PCI device’s Physical Function (PF) to be allocated to the Service VM and its Virtual Functions (VFs) to be allocated to any VM.
    • The ACRN Service VM supports an SRIOV ethernet device (through the PF driver) and ensures an SRIOV VF device can be assigned (pass-through) to a post-launched VM (launched by ACRN-DM).
  • CPU sharing enhancement – Halt/Pause emulation
    • For a vCPU using the fairness CPU scheduler, the hypervisor supports yielding an idle vCPU (when it’s running a ‘HLT’ or ‘PAUSE’ instruction).
  • PCI Config space access emulation for Pass-thru devices in the hypervisor
    • The hypervisor provides the necessary emulation (such as config space) of the pass-thru PCI device during runtime for a DM-launched VM. Such runtime emulation is DM-independent.
  • PCI bridge emulation in the hypervisor

See the full release notes and latest documentation for more information about this 1.6 release.

Documentation updates

Many new reference documents are available, including:

SR-IOV Architecture in the ACRN hypervisor

We recommend that all developers upgrade to ACRN release v1.6.

About the ACRN Project

ACRN is a flexible, lightweight reference hypervisor, built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, optimized to streamline embedded development through an open source platform. To learn more, please visit https://projectacrn.org/.

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more.  The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.

ACRN and Zephyr demo at Embedded World 2020

By Blog

Embedded World 2020 is a wrap. This year the ACRN hypervisor and Zephyr RTOS were demonstrated together in Canaonical’s Ubuntu booth.

Since ACRN’s start in 2018 as a Linux Foundation project, the ACRN team focused on developing a hypervisor that is flexible, lightweight, open-source, and built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind. The Zephyr RTOS, another Linux Foundation project, strives to deliver the best-in-class RTOS for connected, resource-constrained devices and is built to be secure and safe. 

Canonical took advantage of this unique set of capabilities in open source projects by demonstrating single-system mixed workload consolidation based on Zephyr, Ubuntu, and ACRN.  The Zephyr RTOS runs specialized tasks requiring real-time capabilities or integrating functional safety modules, while Ubuntu is the rich Linux operating system running other non-real-time workloads. The ACRN hypervisor provides the isolated virtual machine environment, concurrently supporting both workloads. 

The architecture of Canonical’s demo is depicted below. The Zephyr RTOS is running in a pre-launched Virtual Machine (VM) completely isolated from Ubuntu, so any workload crash or even a reboot of the Ubuntu VM will not disturb the tasks running in Zephyr. 

A single-system mixed workload consolidation demo architecture, based on Zephyr, Ubuntu, and ACRN.

Visit Canonical’s blog for more details on their Embedded World 2020 demo.