NVIDIA Leads the Fast-Growing Edge AI Chipset Market

16 October, 2019

ABI Research estimates that the edge AI chipset market will grow from US$2.6 billion in 2019 to US$7.6 billion by 2024. NVIDIA holds 39% of the market, but is facing intensifying competition

Photo above: NVIDIA Jetson Nano Artificial Intelligence Module

Based on the AI development in 17 vertical markets, ABI Research estimates that the edge AI chipset market will grow from US$2.6 billion in 2019 to US$7.6 billion by 2024, with no vendor commanding more than 40% of the market. The current leader  is NVIDIA, with a 39% revenue share in the first half of 2019. The GPU vendor has a strong presence in key AI verticals such as automotive, camera systems, robotics, and smart manufacturing.

But NVIDIA is facing intensifying competition. Principal Analyst at ABI Research, Lian Jye Su, indicates that Intel is a stiff competitor with its chipset portfolio, from Xeon CPU to Mobileye and Movidius Myriad. At the same time, FPGA vendors, such as Xilinx, QuickLogic, and Lattice Semiconductor, are creating compelling solutions for industrial AI applications. One missing vertical from NVIDIA’s wide footprint is consumer electronics, specifically smartphones.

 AI-enabled servers and gateways

AI processing in smartphones has been driven by manufacturers such as Qualcomm, Huawei, and Apple. In smart home applications, MediaTek and Amlogic are making solid presence. ABI believes that the AI chipset vendors will likely adopt one of three strategies. The first: creating AI chipsets that target the AI-enabled on-premise server and gateway market. This space is currently well-served by NVIDIA, Intel, and Xilinx but new entrants such as Huawei, Graphcore, and Habana Labs may challenge them.

Intelligent Edge Devices

The second strategy: Targeting intelligent edge devices and nodes, which favors vendors that are active in the consumer electronics space. Vendors like Qualcomm and MediaTek have natural advantages here. Captive vendors who design their own AI chipsets, such as Apple, Huawei, and Samsung, have also started to broaden their AI portfolio for consumer devices.

Low Cost Devices Market

The final strategy is to target low-cost and battery-powered end devices that feature minimal computational capabilities and long useful lives. These devices are often deployed in smart cities,  smart buildings, smart transportation, and utilities, all which rely on public Ethernet or Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWANs) for connectivity.  ABI Research forecasts shipments for these devices will grow from 0.9 million in 2019 to 5.7 million in 2024.

Recently, many chipset players have engaged in this segment of the market by offering AI chipsets that are ultra-power efficient with a low price point. These include GreenWave Technologies, a startup that develops AI chipset using open-source RISC-V architecture, Lattice Semiconductor, a FPGA chipset vendor, and Syntiant, an Application Specific Integrated Circuit vendor with strength in natural language processing.

Su: “The edge AI chipset market is a highly competitive one. The use cases become increasingly complex and diverse, and new players are emerging from the horizon almost monthly.”

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