FPGA robotics starter kit targets the intelligent factory

FPGA robotics starter kit targets the intelligent factory

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By Nick Flaherty

AMD has launched a Robotics Starter Kit based around its Kria FPGA module.

The Kria KR260 starter kit provides native ROS 2 support, the standard framework for robotics application development, and pre-built interfaces for robotics and industrial solutions. AMD has worked with Open Robotics, the creators of ROS 2 and other open software and hardware platforms for robotics, to validate and ensure compliance of the ROS 2 implementation.

The K26 module on the carrier board runs the Kria Robotics Stack (KRS), an integrated set of robot libraries and utilities that use hardware to accelerate the development, maintenance and commercialization of industrial-grade robotic software.

The KR260 kit also includes support for the widely-adopted Ubuntu embedded operating system, providing compatibility with the latest long-term support (LTS) versions of Ubuntu Linux Desktop (22.04) from Canonical and ROS 2 Humble Hawksbill for robotics, machine vision and industrial communication and control.

The Kria K26 module uses the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC chip with four ARM Cortex A53 processor cores, 250,000 programmable logic cells and a hardware H.264/265 video codec. The SOM also features 4GB of DDR4 memory and 245 I/Os. The starter kit uses this I/O to provide four Pmod 12-pin interfaces and one Raspberry Pi HAT header with 26 I/Os to add other peripherals.

There is a growing list of accelerated applications from the AMD-Xilinx App Store to enable easy evaluation and a seamless path to deployment and the kit offers a seamless path to production deployment by using the K26 module.

“The Kria KR260 Robotics Starter Kits builds on the success of our Kria SOMs and KV260 Vision AI Starter Kit for AI and embedded developers, providing roboticists with a complete, out-of-the-box solution for this rapidly growing application space,” said Chetan Khona, senior director of Industrial, Vision, Healthcare and Sciences Markets at AMD. “Roboticists will now be able to work in their standard development environment on a platform that has all the interfaces and capabilities needed to be up and running in less than an hour. The KR260 Starter Kit is an ideal platform to accelerate robotics innovation and easily take ideas to production at scale.”

The kit aims to challenge the Nvidia Jetson-based GPU systems running the Isaac robot operating system.

“The Kria SOM family and KR260 Starter Kit provide the robotics community with a great combination of performance, flexibility and rapid development time,” said Brian Gerkey, CEO of Open Robotics. “Users can create software-defined hardware and build solutions offering high performance per watt, with security, energy-efficiency and adaptability. Open Robotics is excited to be collaborating with AMD-Xilinx to understand and address the needs of roboticists using hardware acceleration to build new robot applications with the KR260 development platform.” 

The Kria KR260 Robotics Starter Kit is priced at $349 and is immediately available from AMD and its network of worldwide distributors. The KR260 starter kit adds to the available Kria KV260 Vision AI Starter Kit, providing an easy-to-use development platform for designing vision applications.

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