Fault-tolerant soft-core processor

At SkyLabs, innovation is at the heart of everything we do. Our first and base breakthrough, the PicoSkyFT processor, was presented in 2015 as a key technology to address European technological space independence. To this day, PicoSkyFT still exemplifies our commitment to pushing technological boundaries and providing unparalleled solutions for our customers.

PicoSkyFT processor is a ground-breaking technology, that is the very core that powers the intelligence and efficiency behind each of our products. It embodies the synergy of expertise and innovation.

Radiation hardened by design, small size, low power and configurable architectural features optimised for hard, real-time processing, make this type of processor core suitable for aerospace and other safety-critical applications. Nowadays, PicoSkyFT is orbiting from LEO to MEO in dozen of instances and thus having TRL9.

PicoSkyFT is a small footprint high-performance fault-tolerant 8/16-bit embedded soft-core processor based on Harvard enhanced RISC pipelined architecture designed to provide a next generation solution that fits between the overloaded FPGAs and the hugely complex microprocessors.

The processor provides a rich and powerful proprietary PicoSky ISA with 16-bit operation codes with single cycle execution on most instructions to provide throughput of 1 MIPS per MHz. The SEE tolerant design is achieved by several error mitigation techniques and incorporated fault detection, isolation and recovery policy to increase reliability. The core is customisable to suit various memory models.

One of the key hallmarks of PicoSkyFT is its inherent flexibility. PicoSkyFT System-on-a-Chip  (SoC) can be easily adapted to meet customers unique requirements, since modifying its functionalities does not present any major challenges (CAN, SPI, TWI, UART, OBT, Timer/PWM, SpaceWire, Ethernet interfaces or any other special function). This adaptability ensures that our technology isn't just a one-size-fits-all solution but a tailored, high-performance engine for your specific needs.

PicoSky processor technology is a smallest high-performance processor core on market. It is an independent IP core and its implementation foot-print beats all the market leading processor cores. It delivers high processing power that beats almost all 8/16-bit processor architectures. It is configured as compact memory model with all available features, as debug support unit with hardware breakpoint support, multiplication instructions, trace buffer support, interrupt controller, sleep functionality, etc.

Its true resources advantage is even more apparent when processor is integrated into a SoC. The PicoSkyFT processor provides a highly scalable and adaptable SoC design approach to accommodate all specific needs, leveraging on the reuse of building blocks which are highly configurable and already validated.

The fault tolerant PicoSkyFT processor core and its instruction set is extended by a widely accepted single precision IEEE754 compliant floating-point unit (FPU). The instruction set provides atomic execution of standard floating-point arithmetic operations like square, square root, inversion, number conversions and comparison.

The FPU extension not only increases the computational performance in major by reducing the floating-point arithmetic operations from several hundred cycles to an average of a few cycles, but also reduces the code size and improves the overall code efficiency.

FPU makes this fault tolerant PicoSkyFT processor core suitable for many applications in radiation harsh environments needing floating-point mathematical handling such as loop control or digital filtering. It makes the development faster and safer, from high level design tools to software generation.

PicoSkyFT is proven by the radiation testing, during which no computational errors, processor hangs or other anomalies occurred. It showed remarkable fault tolerance to the induced soft-errors. Several radiation testing campaigns confirmed the processor is SEFI free and its 100% safe operation, thus ensuring outstanding operational robustness and computational integrity in high radiation environment. That makes processor ideal solution for aerospace or other safety critical applications.

The maturity of the technology has been verified and confirmed with a series of activities together with the the ESA's Microelectronics and Data Systems Division.