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Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

AI SoCs; testing noise sensitivity at 7nm; big opportunity for TinyML; Huawei leads in base-station antennas.

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AI on edge
Cadence’s Tensilica Vision P6 DSP IP will be in Kneron’s KL720, a 1.4TOPS AI system-on-chip (SoC) targeted for AI of things (AIoT), smart home, smart surveillance, security, robotics and industrial control applications.

Arm announced its Arm Cortex-R82, a 64-bit, Linux-capable Cortex-R processor for enterprise and computational storage systems. The processor is designed to process data close to where it is stored. An operating system can run directly on the Cortex-R82 via a memory management unit (MMU).

ABI Research calculates that total of 2.5 billion devices are expected to be shipped with a TinyML (Tiny Machine Learning) chipsets in 2030, signaling how popular low-power edge AI applications will be — especially in 10 years.

Aspinity, the analog machine learning startup working on neuromorphic analog chip for low-power always-on devices, just raised $5.3 million in Series A funding.

IoT
Nestwave is combining its soft core GPS navigation IP with Synopsys’ DesignWare ARC IoT Communications IP Subsystem to create a low power global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) for IoT modems.

Two sensors ICs from Maxim Integrated take temperatures for highly reliable cold-chain pharma, industrial automation, and other temperature-sensing applications, announced the company. MAX31889 can replace a more expensive resistance temperature detector (RTD) at 35% of the power. The MAX31825 saves on wire complexity to enable connecting 64 devices through the same parasitically powered 1-Wire bus.

MediaTek unveiled a smartphone chip for 4G gaming and teleconferencing enthusiasts, the Helio G95, with an AI processing unit (APU) for up to four cameras. The chip offers sharper images and graphics with video qualities ranging from 360p to 720p HD resolution in real-time. It has always on DSP listening for wake words and includes two Arm Cortex-A76 CPUs, six Cortex-A55 power-efficient CPUs, with Arm Mali-g76 MC4, plus MediaTek HyperEngine game technology. The chip will be in phones coming out in September.

5G
With 5G roll out starting in 2019, the antenna vendor market is getting more competitive, says ABI Research. Huawei remains the market leader in the base station antenna market, followed by CommScope, Kathrein Mobile Communication, Rosenberger, and ACE Technologies. South Korea has more than 90,000 5G base stations deployed, China has more than 130,000 5G base stations.

Marvell joined the Open RAN Policy Coalition, a group of telecom operators, equipment providers, and policymakers promoting open and interoperable protocols and components (radios, hardware and software) for the radio access network (RAN). Often a single vendor is used regionally in setting up RANs because components don’t play well together. As the core network operations start heading closer to the edge, the RAN —which is the part of the mobile network located at the cell tower — should have open and interoperable wireless technologies, says the coalition because the networks can be more modular in design without depending on a single vendor. Marvell designs chips for RAN hardware.

MediaTek announced its 5G smartphone chip, the Dimensity 1000C, which debuted first in the United States in the LG Velvet phone on T-Mobile’s 5G network. The chip has four Arm-Cortex-A77 CPU cores and four Arm Cortex-A55 cores. The chip was designed for the U.S. market, according to MediaTek’s press release, with a AV1 for video streaming, lower-power voice wakeup functions, and an AI face detection hardware engine.

Automotive
Volta Trucks unveiled a prototype electric cargo truck called the Volta Zero designed for inner-city parcel distribution. The 16-ton electric truck has zero emissions, a range of 90 to 120 miles (150 to 200 km), and safety measures such as 220-degree field of vision for the driver, who sits in a central driving position in the cabin and lower to the road. Driver access to doors on both sides of the vehicle. The cargo container is made of a flax woven material that is supposed to be more disposable at end of life. Volta Trucks proposes a truck-as-a-service arrangement for logistics companies.

Elektrobit made its EB tresos Classic AUTOSAR software available for use with Synopsys‘ ARC EM and HS Functional Safety Processor IP. ARC Functional Safety processors are ASIL B and ASIL D compliant.

Allegro MicroSystems is acquiring Voxtel, Inc., which specializes in advanced photonic and 3D imaging technology including long-range, eye-safe LiDAR.

A 300mm wafer probe system from FormFactor can test the noise sensitivity of 7nm chips and below. The CM300xi-ULN is designed for highly accurate testing of flicker noise (1/f), random telegraph noise (RTN), and phase noise. “It is now possible to deploy high-throughput, low-frequency flicker noise testing, for either semi-automated or fully autonomous probing with multi-DUT layouts for complete hands-free 24/7 operation,” said Claus Dietrich, VP and GM of the Systems Business Unit at FormFactor. “With the CM300xi-ULN taking the complexity out of low noise test cell optimization, test engineers need only to power on and begin testing.”

People & Companies
Imagination Technologies is teaching the teachers of undergraduates about RISC-V computer architecture in a course “RVfpga: Understanding Computer Architecture.” The course, part of Imagination University Programme (IUP), includes teaching materials and student exercises covering the processor architecture and IP cores and modifying a RISC-V core and their microarchitectures. The course will be released November 2020 in English, followed by Chinese, Spanish and Japanese. To register your interest, join the IUP here.

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