Avnet Edge AI Development Kit Enables High-Performance Edge Processing with Low-power On-chip Accelerators

The kit features Avnet Embedded’s SMARC computing platform based on NXP’s i.MX.8M Plus, a 10.1-inch touch display, and a dual-camera vision board supporting interchangeable IAS camera modules

Avnet’s new development kit enables OEM design engineers to deploy autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to embedded applications, thereby reducing or eliminating the dependency on cloud connectivity or processing. The Avnet Edge AI Development Kit features Avnet Embedded’s robust SMARC Computer-on-module (COM), based on NXP’s i.MX 8M Plus applications processor, combined with a production-ready SimpleFlex Carrier and a long-term available 10.1 touch display, provides a cost-effective, high-performance computing solution for machine learning (ML) edge applications. Rounding out the kit is a dual camera vision board that can support single or dual IAS camera modules based on onsemi image sensors.

The hardware is compliant with the new SMARC 2.1.1 module standard. The embedded computing solution fits within compact external dimensions of 146mm (h) x 80mm (w) and is suitable for operation over a -40C to +85C industrial temperature range.

“This new Edge AI development kit allows designers to augment existing applications with new features like face recognition, voice command processing, and other compute-intensive machine learning algorithms while still bringing their applications to market quickly,” said Jim Beneke, vice president of Products and Emerging Technologies.  “Our new kit enables advanced AI and ML applications to run faster at the edge through the power-efficient neural processing unit (NPU) included in NXP’s i.MX 8M Plus MPU. This also enables more autonomous systems where cloud connectivity is not required or can supplement the system’s capabilities with higher-level functions.”

“Avnet Embedded is a Gold Partner with NXP with many years of design experience designing and manufacturing computing modules to industry standards,” said Tim Jensen, senior director of product innovation at Avnet Embedded. “The SMARC module hardware, which is designed and created in-house by Avnet Embedded, unlocks a vast array of potential for designers to leverage a system built on our in-house expertise.”

Along with the kit, Avnet provides example applications that leverage the NXP i.MX 8M Plus NPU core, with 2.25 TOPS of performance, to accelerate deep learning neural network inference and delivery of better performance for practical applications like face recognition for access control lockout.

“The i.MX 8M Plus applications processor, with its compute resources, connectivity options and especially with the dedicated NPU accelerator, is ideal to deploy machine learning applications for secure and accurate decision-making at the edge,” said Ali Osman Ors, director of AI Machine Learning Strategy and Technologies at NXP. “With the i.MX 8M Plus applications processor and the Avnet Edge AI Development Kit, we are supporting and enabling our customers to move to the ‘intelligent’ edge.”

“Fast time to market is an essential business need for emerging vision applications,” said Guy Nicholson, marketing director, industrial and commercial sensing division at onsemi. “The onsemi IAS module ecosystem has brought the mobile-style image sensor format to the broad industrial market. Through our collaboration with NXP and Avnet, we are now also providing a platform for camera system OEMs to rapidly develop and get to production with an industry-leading AI and machine learning solution.”

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