Imagination removes IP licensing fees in Open Access scheme

Imagination removes IP licensing fees in Open Access scheme

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Imagination Technologies is offering access to select older GPU and AI accelerator IP without any licensing costs for early-stage chip companies .

The Open Access scheme covers four PowerVR Series8XE GPUs and three PowerVR Series3NX neural network accelerators (NNA) launched back in 2018. A software driver is supplied by UK-based Imagination, and compatible open-source drivers are now also available in the market. It also includes technical support, a key factor for these low cost schemes.

This follows a similar move by ARM to open up its base of users in the US by lowering the barriers of entry to system on chip designs. This enables scale-ups to create IoT and AI products for applications covering smart home, industrial designs for smart cities or smart factories, smart kiosks and signage and healthcare tech.

 “Our PowerVR Series8XE GPU and PowerVR Series3NX NNAs have shipped in multiple markets from mobile and automotive to consumer devices, DTV and DCD applications. By removing the licensing fee for this IP, Open Access offers a more accessible route to cutting-edge SoC creation,” said Jim Wallace, Senior Director of Strategic Business Development at Imagination.

The company says it will look to add additional IP, but will not comment on when its RISC-V cores will be included. One RISC-V partner, RIOS Labs in China, is already using the scheme.

 “Imagination and RIOS Laboratory have a strong partnership in growing the RISC-V ecosystem, with our PicoRio open-source RISC-V computer being the first to benefit from the early stages of the Open Access program,” said Zhangxi Tan, co-director at RISC-V International Open Source Laboratory (RIOS Lab). “We are also grateful for the consistent support from the Imagination University Program, offering GPU and RISC-V course material that equips the next generation of talent with the tools for success. We look forward to leveraging the Open Access program with major global partners in the PC space.”

The move is also key for the Silicon Catalyst incubator which supports scale up chip companies in the UK and the US.

“Imagination is a trusted member of our In-Kind Partner (IKP) program, offering access to their high-value PowerVR GPU and AI accelerator design IP for our Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Companies,” said Pete Rodriguez, CEO, Silicon Catalyst. “We are delighted that the Open Access program will lower financial barriers, enabling a range of early-stage semiconductor companies to accelerate their SoC development. Combining our comprehensive IKP ecosystem resources with Imagination’s flexible and scalable IP solutions will help support the accelerated growth and market delivery of the innovations being crafted by companies in our Incubator.”

Leading European research lab imec is also a supporter.

“imec.IC-link is a complete ASIC solutions provider that can manage the full product life cycle for its customers – serving startups, SMEs and established OEMs as well as universities,” said Steve Beckers, Vice President, imec and General Manager of imec.IC-link. “As a leading value-chain aggregator for TSMC in Europe and the US, we work with partners that enable our customers to accelerate their SoC designs. Imagination’s Open Access program will enable us to combine our imec.IC-link resources to better support scale-up companies in their journeys to success.”

Details of the Open Access programe are here

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