New Electronics – congatec modules set new benchmarks for secure edge AI applications

Applications of AI

With this announcement, the company expands its extensive module portfolio featuring low-power NXP i.MX Arm processors and highlights its strong partnership with NXP, enabling customers to benefit from easy scalability and a reliable upgrade path for existing and new energy-efficient edge AI applications with high security requirements.

These modules offer many advantages, including up to 3x GFLOPS computing performance compared to the previous generation with the i.MX8 M Plus processor. NXP's new neural processing unit, “eIQ Neutron,” doubles the inference performance for AI-accelerated machine vision.

Additionally, the hardware-integrated EdgeLock Secure Enclave simplifies the implementation of internal cybersecurity measures.

The conga-SMX95 SMARC module is designed for the industrial temperature range of -40°C to +85°C, is mechanically robust and optimized for cost-effective and energy-efficient applications. The integrated high-performance eIQ Neutron NPU enables AI acceleration workloads to run closer to the local device level.

Specific uses for the new SMARC modules include AI-accelerated low-power applications in areas such as industrial manufacturing, machine vision and visual inspection, rugged HMIs, 3D printers, robotic controllers for AMRs and AGVs, and medical imaging and patient monitoring systems.

According to congatec, other target applications include passenger seatback entertainment in buses and airplanes, fleet management in transportation, as well as construction and agricultural applications.

The modules are based on the next-generation NXP i.MX 95 applications processor with four to six Arm Cortex-A55 cores. For the first time, NXP is using the new Arm Mali 3D graphics unit, delivering up to three times the GPU performance compared to its predecessor, the i.MX8 M Plus.

Also new is an Image Signal Processor (ISP) for hardware-accelerated image processing.

Of particular note is the NXP eIQ Neutron NPU, which enables hardware-accelerated AI inference and machine learning (ML) at the edge on the new SMARC modules. NXP's corresponding eIQ software development environment provides OEMs with a high-performance development environment to simplify the implementation of in-house ML applications.

Furthermore, these SMARC modules integrate a real-time domain for real-time controllers. The conga-SMX95 SMARC module offers 2x Gbit Ethernet with TSN for synchronized and deterministic network data transfer, as well as LPDDR5 (with inline ECC) for data security. For display connectivity, the new modules offer DisplayPort as standard interface, as well as the still widely used LVDS display interface. For direct camera connection, the module has 2x MIPI-CSI.

congatec also offers an extensive hardware and software ecosystem as well as comprehensive design-in services to simplify and speed up application development, including evaluation and production-ready application carrier boards as well as customized cooling solutions. In terms of services, congatec offers comprehensive documentation, training and signal integrity measurements for application development.

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