Ambiq MCU targets endpoint AI with 30x power efficiency improvement

Ambiq MCU targets endpoint AI with 30x power efficiency improvement

New Products |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Delivering up to 30x better power efficiency and 10x faster performance compared to previous generations, the new Apollo510 MCU from Ambiq is uniquely positioned to kickstart the age of truly ubiquitous, practical, and meaningful AI.

The first member of the Apollo5 SoC family, the Apollo5 has the ability to do AI/ML workloads concurrent with complex graphics, telco-quality voice applications, and always-on voice/sensor processing. The MCU boasts 4 MB on-chip NVM, 3.75 MB on-chip SRAM, and high bandwidth interfaces to off-chip memories. It also comes with an on-board 2.5D GPU with vector graphics acceleration for vibrant, crystal-clear, and smooth graphics, offering a 3.5x overall performance enhancement over the earlier Apollo4 Plus family.

The Apollo510 provides support for Memory in Pixel (MiP) displays, typically found in the lowest-power products and features robust security on Ambiq’s secureSPOT® platform with Arm TrustZone technology.

The Apollo510 MCU is a complete overhaul of hardware and software that fully leverages the Arm® Cortex®-M55 CPU with Arm Helium™ to reach processing speeds up to 250 MHz. The Apollo510 achieves up to 10x better latency while reducing energy consumption by around 2x, compared to Ambiq’s previous power efficiency leader, the Apollo4. This desirable combination of performance and efficiency allows our customers to deploy sophisticated speech, vision, health, and industrial AI models on battery-powered devices everywhere, making it the most efficient semiconductor on the market to operate with the Arm Cortex-M55.

“We at Ambiq have pushed our proprietary SPOT platform to optimize power consumption in support of our customers, who are aggressively increasing the intelligence and sophistication of their battery-powered devices year after year,” said Scott Hanson, Ambiq’s CTO and Founder. The new Apollo510 MCU is simultaneously the most energy-efficient and highest-performance product we’ve ever created.”

“As applications across health, industrial and smart home continue to advance, the need for secure edge AI is crucial for next generation devices,” said Paul Williamson, SVP and GM, IoT Line of Business at Arm. “Ambiq’s new family of SoCs, built on Arm, will deliver significant performance gains for on-device AI, helping developers and device manufacturers deliver the capabilities required for the AI era.”

With more than 30x energy improvement over earlier generations, the Apollo510 is capable of running a vast majority of today’s endpoint AI calculations, including low-power sensor monitoring, always-on voice commands, telco-quality audio enhancement, and more. Manufacturers of IoT devices that perform AI/ML inferencing, such as next-gen wearables, digital health devices, AR/VR glasses, factory automation, and remote monitoring devices, can greatly expand their power budget while adding more capabilities to their devices through the Apollo510’s SPOT-optimized design.

Apollo510 contains everything needed for driving intelligent systems: ultra-efficient compute, expansive on-chip memories, high-bandwidth interfaces to off-chip memories, and security. Arm Helium technology on Apollo510 supports up to 8 MACs per cycle as well as half, full, and double precision floating point operations, making it ideal for AI calculations in addition to general signal processing operations. Apollo510 also improves its memory capacity over the previous generation with 4 MB of on-chip NVM and 3.75 MB of on-chip SRAM and TCM, so developers have smooth development and more application flexibility. For extra-large neural network models or graphics assets, Apollo510 has a host of high bandwidth off-chip interfaces, individually capable of peak throughputs up to 500 MB/s and sustained throughput over 300 MB/s. 

Building upon Ambiq’s secureSPOT platform, Apollo510 integrates Arm TrustZone technology with a physical unclonable function (PUF), tamper-resistant OTP, and secure peripherals. These enhancements help designers establish a trusted execution environment (TEE) to develop secure, robust applications and scale their products faster.

IoT endpoint device manufacturers can expect unrivaled power efficiency to develop more capable devices that process AI/ML functions better than before. Targeted applications and industries include wearables, digital health, agriculture, smart homes and buildings, predictive maintenance, factory automation, and more.

The Apollo510 MCU is currently sampling with customers, with general availability in Q4 this year. Ambiq will be showing the Apollo510 at Embedded World.

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