Project Cassini sees first hardware with congatec SMARC module

Project Cassini sees first hardware with congatec SMARC module

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By Nick Flaherty

ARM’s Project Cassini has released its first standard hardware.

congatec in Germany has developed a SMARC Computer-on-Module based on NXP i.MX8 M Plus processor, achieved ARM’s SystemReady IR certification as part of the project.

Cassini aims to overcome the barriers of ARM deployments by providing a comprehensive and secure ecosystem of standards while delivering a cloud-native software experience similar to an app store with easy download, install and run routines with only a few clicks.

“We love the idea of Project Cassini as it builds a comprehensive ecosystem to improve the design-in efficiency of Arm applications,” said Martin Danzer, Director Product Management at congatec. “Testing applications on standard platforms with standard ISO images is the right step to fast and easy evaluation, for example – securely managed virtualized gateways hosting cloud-native stacks that can be orchestrated remotely. But please don’t forget that a secure boot implementation is mandatory for such applications.”

The software allows hardware diversity and provides security APIs and certification to reduce development effort as OEMs can port and deploy their applications to the entire Cassini certified ARM ecosystem.

Hardware with Cassini SystemReady IR certified bootloader is validated to run unmodified ISO images of Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE and Debian operating systems, making native software installation an easily executable task.

With Computer-on-Module standards and standardized ISO images, application designs become highly efficient, reducing NRE costs and accelerating time to market. Cassini also has the potential to become the standard for how ARM based IoT and edge devices will be updated, managed and secured.

 The first starter set suitable to implement the Cassini SystemReady IR certified bootloader is available at congatec’s GIT server and targets AI accelerated vision applications.

This contains the entire ecosystem developers need to instantly start designing applications on the basis of the next-generation NXP i.MX 8M plus platform, which offers highly efficient vision and AI integration.

At the heart of the starter set is a new SMARC 2.1 Computer-on-Module conga-SMX8-Plus. It features four ARM Cortex-A53 processor cores, one ARM Cortex-M7 controller and the NXP Neural Processing Unit (NPU) to accelerate deep learning algorithms and comes with passive cooling.

A 3.5in carrier board conga-SMC1/SMARC-ARM can be directly connected to a 13 MPixel MIPI camera module from Basler without any additional converter modules.

Next to MIPI, CSI-2.0 also USB and GigE vision cameras can be also supported. On the software side, congatec provides a bootable SD card with preconfigured boot loader, Yocto build OS image, and matching BSPs.

The Basler embedded vision software enabling immediate AI inference training on the basis of captured images and video sequences can be made available as plug & play ready for qualified customer projects.

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