SMARC module with the i.MX 8M+ for edge AI and embedded vision

March 03, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
SMARC module with the NXP i.MX 8M for edge AI and embedded vision
The conga-SMX8-Plus SMARC 2.1 module from congatec supports edge AI on the NXP i.MX 8M+ processor

German board maker congatec has developed a low power SMARC 2.1 Computer-on-Module with NXP i.MX 8M+ processor for industrial edge analytics, embedded vision and artificial intelligence (AI)

The i.MX 8M+ in the conga-SMX8-Plus module has four ARM Cortex-A53 application processor cores with a neural processing unit (NPU) for AI and image signal processor (ISP) for parallel real-time processing of high resolution images and video streams from the two integrated MIPI-CSI camera interfaces. A Cortex-M7 microcontroller core can also be used as a fail-safe unit and provides real-time control together with a time synchronized networking capable Ethernet port.

The module works with the application-ready 3.5-inch carrier boards as well as Basler camera and AI software stack support to create a fast proof of concept.

“If engineers leverage the rich and highly efficient feature set of the new SMARC modules along with our extensive ecosystem and implement further application-specific functions via PCIe Gen 3 as well as 2x USB 3.0 and 2x SDIO, they have a highly reliable and robust 2-6 Watt low power platform for vision and AI. Depending on the variant, the new modules can even be used in the extended temperature range of -40°C to 85°C,” said Martin Danzer, Director Product Management at congatec.

As well as an encryption module (CAAM) for hardware-accelerated ECC and RSA encryption, ARM’s  TrustZone also integrates the Resource Domain Controller (RDC) for isolated execution of critical software, and the secure High Assurance Boot mode to prevent the execution of unauthorized software during boot.

The module has in-line ECC for up to 6 GB of LPDDR4 memory and can drive up to three independent displays and provide hardware accelerated video decoding and encoding including H.265 so that high resolution camera streams delivered by two integrated MIPI-CSI interfaces can be sent directly to the network.

Next: i.MX8M+ 

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