The tremendous growth in edge devices has focused the spotlight on Edge-AI processing for low latency, low power and low-DDR bandwidth compute needs. Many of these Edge-AI applications depend on effective and efficient processing of image and video streams which in turn relies on computer vision technology. Earlier this month, VeriSilicon announced the launch of AI-ISP, an innovative AI image enhancement technology that the company claims surpasses what traditional computer vision technologies offer. The company credited its Glass to Glass (from camera-in to display-out) intelligent pixel processing IP portfolio and its innovative FLEXA™ IP interconnection technology for this achievement. This blog will look into the nuts and bolts behind that claim.
Many may already be familiar with VeriSilicon but a refresher will serve well as a backdrop for this blog. From two decades ago when the company started as a design service and a turnkey service provider, VeriSilicon has expanded and evolved a lot as well. The company is committed to providing customers one-stop custom silicon solutions through its silicon services and IP licensing services of in-house semiconductor IP. Customers benefit from its “Silicon Platform as a Service (SiPaaS®) model that enables design efficiencies and higher quality while lowering product risk and development costs. VeriSilicon can create custom silicon products from definition to test and package within short cycle times.
The company has delivered a variety of custom silicon solutions supporting applications such as high-definition audio, video, high-end processing, video surveillance, IoT connectivity, smart wearable, and many others. It leverages an in-house IP portfolio of more than 1,400 analog and mixed-signal IPs and RF IPs along with processor IPs. Its processor IPs fall into the following six types: GPU, NPU, VPU, DSP, ISP and Display Processor.
Under its platform model, VeriSilicon is constantly looking at integration of its various technologies to push the envelope of traditional approaches to solutions. The VeriSilicon AI-ISP technology is a result of such a push to support the Edge-AI processing domain. The technology combines VeriSilicon’s Neural Network Processing technology with its Image Signal Processing technology to deliver innovative image quality enhancement for computer vision. The AI-ISP is built on an intelligent workload balancing architecture that optimizes power consumption and memory access. It is built for applications that demand ultra-low power consumption under near-zero illuminance conditions. VeriSilicon’s AI-ISP can be leveraged to benefit smartphones, automotive electronics, and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) among many other applications.
AI-ISP Leverages Already Proven Technologies
VeriSilicon develops its various IPs with the SiPaaS model in mind. Its various IP technologies support each other to deliver enhanced results. For example, its Image Signal Processing (ISP) IP focuses the target area to obtain a clearer image and set things up for its Network Processing Unit (NPU) to perform detection and recognition functions. On the other hand, its NPU is capable of performing dark light enhancement and resolution improvement of an image output by the ISP, for further enhancement of image quality. Following are the underlying technologies that the AI-ISP offering leverages.
A core concept that goes hand-in-hand with edge processing is the offloading of the host CPU when tasks can be efficiently handled through other means. VeriSilicon’s FLEXA™ is its innovative, low-power and low latency synchronous interface communication technology that allows ISPs to read, write and access data directly from the NPU without involving the CPU. The FLEXA API is built around a hardware and software protocol that enables efficient data communication between multiple pixel processing IP blocks. Systems built with FLEXA compliant IPs can leverage the API to run AI applications to reduce DDR traffic and achieve low pixel processing latencies.
Image Signal Processing (ISP) Technology
VeriSilicon’s ISP technology is already market proven through customer adoption of various cores from its ISP product portfolio.
Its ISP8000 line is dual certified for ISO 26262 and IEC 61508 functional safety standards. This dual certification is very significant to its customer base for the following reasons. Safety standards are established to ensure that mistakes and errors are avoided across the entire life-cycle of a product. While the ISO 26262 standard includes very specific Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment (HARA), it is specific for the automotive industry. Whereas IEC 61508 is a basic functional safety standard applicable to all industries. IEC 61508 guides the development of a uniform technical approach for all safety systems in electronics and related software. It requires the analysis of the potential risks or hazards of any system across a wide range of applications.
Neural Network Processor (NNP) Technology
VeriSilicon’s NNP technology is already market proven through customer adoption of various cores from its NNP product portfolio. It incorporates self-adaptive resolution calculation and multi-frame fusion function, as well as excellent noise reduction performance even in low light conditions. The technology comes with a complete software stack and software development kit (SDK) that supports deep learning frameworks including Tensorflow, PyTorch, ONNX, TVM, and IREE. For the specific cores that support various applications from IoT and Wearables to Automotive and Data Centers, refer to the Figure below.
As a SiPaaS company, VeriSilicon continues to bring valuable IP cores and integration services to benefit its customer base. Customers are enabled to implement efficient, low-power integrated solutions that can perform beyond the limitations of traditional approaches. Its customer base covers consumer electronics, automotive, computer and peripheral, data processing, IoT and other applications.
To learn more about VeriSilicon, visit their website.
To read the press announcement about AI-ISP, go here.
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