Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

IoT privacy in pandemics; AI chips; autonomous delivery.


Last week, the United States’ Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) announced it will not enforce penalties for certain U.S. HIPAA Rules violations involving COVID-19 testing sites. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, protects privacy of health information. Lawyers are looking it over. “Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, providers are still responsible for complying with HIPAA’s administrative, technical, physical, and organizational requirements,” says lawyers from Carlton Fields in a Dark Reading article.

In the European Union, the European Commission said no to collecting location data for contact tracing in the context of COVID-19. Contact tracing, however, is not the only way anonymous and aggregation location data can help contain the spread of the virus. For example, Enel X, the creator of City Analytics software for municipalities, is adding a mobility mapping module from digital mapping company HERE Technologies to help Italian governmental agencies understand how often and how far people are moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Called Mobility Map, the system takes four key indicators pulled from vehicle sensors, navigation systems and mobile phones — number of trips, kilometers traveled, and daily and weekly incoming and outgoing regional trips — to authorities to analyze the impact of COVID-19 containment measures.

Networks are adapting, as might be expected, because of COVID-19. Ericsson writes that it seen major shifts in data and voice traffic moving from downtown to suburban and residential areas, as a result of lockdowns and less mobility and movement in cities. “We’ve also seen a significant rise in mobile voice calls, as well as bi-directional services, such as video calls and tools for smart working.” You can read more about the impact on network traffic here.

Infineon says it delivered millions of chips for medical ventilators. The chips are power semiconductors that control the ventilator motors in ResMed’s medical devices.

General Motors Co. has begun mass producing Ventec Life Systems V+Pro critical care ventilator under contract to the HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Pony.ai is offering autonomous delivery service in Irvine, California, using 10 electric Hyundai Kona SUVs. Toyota is backing Pony.ai. Other companies, such as Waymo, GM’s Cruise, and Uber have suspending self-driving car tests, reports Reuters. However, the Mountain View-based company Nuro has permission to test its autonomous delivery vehicles in California now.

Safety and inspection company DEKRA is using Keysight‘s Scienlab Charging Discovery System to test and certify charging technology for electric vehicles.

AI and machine learning
Startup Tenstorrent introduced its AI architecture at Linley Spring Processor Conference online last week. The architecture uses a grid of powerful programmable processors. BrainChip, CEVA, and Synopsys also spoke about their new AI products.

Groq, a Mountain View, CA-based startup working on AI ASICs, is using Synopsys’ ZeBu Server 4 cloud-based emulation to develop its Tensor Streaming Processor architecture. Groq was founded in 2016 by former Google TPU designer Jonathan Ross.

AI, IoT, and human learning
Intel and the online learning company Udacity announced a training program for developers in AI, deep learning and computer vision. Intel Edge AI for IoT Developers Nanodegree Program trains developers to use Intel Distribution of OpenVINO. The program takes three months.

Chinese-based Hexing is using Arm’s Pelion IoT platform ecosystem and wireless communications technology Wi-Sun for its smart meters. Smart meters vendors can use Pelion to get the meters connected and secured. The devices can be maintained via the Pelion Device Management through over-the-air updates. By using standard compliant Wi-Sun, Hexing can penetrate new and emerging markets, such as South East Asia, India, South America and Europe, with their smart meters and AMI solutions, according to a press release.

Not everything needs 5G. Qualcomm announced its 212 LTE IoT Modem, which supports single-mode 3GPP Release 14 Cat. NB2 IoT connections, for low-power wide-area networks. The RF bands are 700MHz to 2.1GHz. On a single chip is modem baseband, application processor, memory, RF transceiver with RF front end, and power management units. It is integrated with ARM Cortez M3 application processor and native set of IoT data networking protocols. Qualcomm is also working with semiconductor display company BOE Technology Group to develop display products that use Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic ultrasonic fingerprint sensors for 5G IoT and XR. BOE makes flexible OLED displays.

Cypress Semiconductor unveiled IoT-AdvantEdge, a mix of technology that has connectivity devices, MCUs, software, tools and support, to help developers design secure, power aware IoT devices.

Analog IP company Agile Analog is working with embedded-analytics IP company UltraSoC to create analog/digital cybersecurity that can detect and prevent analog interference cyber attacks. The companies, both based in United Kingdom, plan to combine Agile Analog’s on-chip analog monitoring IP with UltraSoC’s embedded on-chip analytics, which monitor digital circuitry on a chip. With voltage, temperature and timing sensors from Agile Analog, the analog/IP mashup of on-chip security will be able to detect and fight off side-channel attacks, such as voltage and clock glitching. “The combination of system-level digital monitoring and analog capabilities will enable a holistic approach to hardware-based cybersecurity,” according to a press release.

Samsung will be using Xilinx’s Versal adaptive compute acceleration platform (ACAP) for 5G signal processing, beamforming and multiple carrier connections. “The AI Engines, which are part of the Versal AI Core series, are comprised of a tiled array of vector processors, making them ideal for implementing the required mathematical functions offering high compute density, advanced connectivity, as well as the ability to be reprogrammed and reconfigured even after deployment,” according to a press release.

Ericsson and British Telecommunication PLC (BT) have agreed to deploy Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core (Evolved Packet Core and 5G Core), a container-based, cloud native Mobile Packet Core for 4G, 5G Non-standalone and 5G Standalone services as a single fully integrated core.

Ron Black is stepping down as CEO of Imagination Technologies, the U.K.-based IP company that specializes in GPUs for mobile and automotive, inferencing GPUs, and ray tracing. Ray Bingham will serve as interim CEO. Bingham is the executive chairman of Imagination Technologies and a founding partner of Canyon Bridge Capital Partners Inc., a global private equity firm that has owned Imagination Technologies since 2017. Canyon Bridge took Imagination Technologies private three years ago and maintains its U.K. presence with 550 staff, out 850 globally. Canyon Bridge says provides ongoing financial support to Imagination and has invested $50 million in interest-free loans. Black was CEO since December 2018 and was previously the CEO of Rambus, UPEK and Wavecom, respectively.

NVIDIA now has approval from China to go forward with Mellanox acquisition. Closing is expected to occur on or about April 27, 2020.

Infineon Technologies completed its acquisition of Cypress Semiconductor.

Updated 4/22/2020.

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