SMARC 2.1 industrial modules employ NXP i.MX 8M Plus processors

At Embedded World 2021 digital, congatec unveiled its latest SMARC 2.1 modules based on the NXP i.MX 8M Plus processor. The conga-SMX8-Plus modules feature four quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 based NXP i.MX 8M Plus processors and are intended for low power, embedded vision and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

The low power SMARC 2.1 Computer-on-Modules have machine and deep learning capabilities, which allow industrial embedded systems to see and analyse their surroundings for situational awareness, visual inspection, identification, surveillance and tracking as well as gesture-based contactless machine operation and augmented reality.

The Arm Cortex-A53 based quad-core processor platform includes an integrated neural processing unit (NPU) for AI computational power and an image signal processor (ISP) for parallel real-time processing of high resolution images and video streams from the two integrated MIPI-CSI camera interfaces.

The ecosystem includes application-ready 3.5-inch carrier boards, Basler camera and AI software stack support. The credit card sized modules are intended for use in smart farming and industrial manufacturing, retail, as well as transportation, smart cities and smart buildings.

The i.MX 8M Plus processor-based SMARC modules enable responsive embedded vision and AI applications with a low power envelope. The neural processing unit (NPU) adds 2.3Toperations per second of dedicated AI computational power to the four multi-purpose Arm Cortex-A53 processor cores.

The integrated ISP processes full HD video streams with up to 3x 60 frames per second for video enhancement. There is also a DSP for local speech recognition without any cloud connection.

The module’s Cortex-M7 real-time control together with a time synchronised networking capable Ethernet port.

In addition to the encryption module (CAAM) for hardware-accelerated ECC and RSA encryption, the Arm TrustZone also integrates the resource domain controller (RDC) for isolated execution of critical software. The secure high assurance boot mode prevents the execution of unauthorised software during boot.

The SMARC 2.1 modules operate at the industrial (0°C to +60°C) or extended (-40°C to +85°C) temperature ranges. They also have in-line ECC for up to 6Gbyte LPDDR4 memory.

The modules can drive up to three independent displays and provide hardware accelerated video decoding and encoding including H.265 for high resolution camera streams delivered by two integrated MIPI-CSIs to be sent directly to the network.

For data storage, there is up to 128Gbyte eMMC, which can also operate in safe pSLC mode. Peripheral interfaces include one PCIe Gen 3, two USB 3.0, three USB 2.0, four UART as well as two CAN FD and 14 GPIO.

For real-time networking, the module offers 1x Gbit with time sensitive networking (TSN) support plus conventional GbE.

An optional M.2 WiFi and Bluetooth LE card adds wireless connectivity. Linux, Yocto 2.0 and Android operating systems are supported.

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