Texas Instruments recently introduced a new high-performance MCU portfolio that advances real-time control, networking and analytics applications at the edge. With new Sitara AM2x MCUs, engineers can achieve 10 times the computing capability of traditional, flash-based MCUs. This high-performance portfolio closes the growing gap between today’s MCUs and processors, enabling designers to push the limits in applications such as factory automation, robotics, automotive systems and sustainable energy management.

"Demands for industrial automation, next-generation vehicles, intelligent analytics, and higher levels of connectivity are all fueling the need for fast, accurate microcontrollers at the edge. Delivering more advanced, power-efficient processing to distributed systems is one of the critical next steps in Industry 4.0," said Chris Morris, senior research analyst at Omdia.

Built around high-performance Arm® MCU cores, the Sitara™ AM2x MCU portfolio includes single and multicore devices running at speeds up to 1 GHz and integrates specialized peripherals and accelerators. Implementing high-performance processing capabilities has never been easier, with accessible tools and easy-to-use software that simplify evaluation and reduce overall design complexity and cost.

"Designers increasingly need higher performance at a lower system cost to keep up with the demand for precise control, fast communications and complex analytics. In our new portfolio of Sitara MCUs, TI’s industry-leading processing, real-time control and advanced networking come together seamlessly, enabling engineers to break performance barriers in new, emerging applications," said Mike Pienovi, general manager for Sitara MCU at TI.

The AM243x MCUs, the first family of devices available in the AM2x portfolio, feature up to four Arm Cortex®-R5F cores, each running up to 800 MHz. This high processing speed is critical in factory equipment such as robotics, where fast computations coupled with the MCU’s internal memory enhance a robot’s precision of motion and speed of movement, translating to higher productivity. The additional processing capability enables designers to add analytics for functions such as predictive maintenance, reducing downtime on factory floors. In typical applications, AM243x devices can achieve this level of performance while consuming less than 1 W of active power, enabling factory operators to extend their power resources, lowering both their operating costs and energy footprint.

Sitara AM243x MCUs integrate sensing and actuation peripherals to enable low-latency real-time processing and control for factory automation as well as communications accelerators to simplify industrial networking. AM243x devices expand upon TI’s support of multiple gigabit industrial Ethernet protocols and time-sensitive networking (TSN), enabling next-generation factory networks. With AM243x, engineers can leverage certified protocol stacks available directly from TI to support EtherNet/IP™, EtherCAT®, PROFINET®, IO-Link Master and more to meet evolving industrial communication standards. On-chip security features on the AM243x MCUs support the latest encryption requirements, and integrated functional safety mechanisms, diagnostics and collateral help enable system integrators to target up to Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3 of the IEC 61508 standard with their industrial designs.

To reduce the complexity of design and development, TI created the Sitara AM243x LaunchPad™ Development Kit, enabling the quick evaluation of high-performance MCUs for less than $100. With this evaluation tool and the Sitara MCU+ software framework, developers can immediately start using the precision real-time control and out-of-the-box networking capabilities in the AM243x MCU. Developers also have access to application-specific reference examples, a strong ecosystem of tools and software, and the MCU+ Academy training portal to help them streamline designs and accelerate time to market.

Preproduction versions of the AM2431, AM2432 and AM2434 are now available exclusively on TI.com in a 17-mm-by-17-mm or 11-mm-by-11-mm package. Pricing starts at US$6.05 for 1,000-unit quantities. The AM243x LaunchPad Development Kit is also available on TI.com for US$89. For more information, see ti.com/AM2x-pr.