NXP and Hailo Expand AI cooperation through MicroSys

NXP Semiconductors and Hailo announced a cooperation to provide joint AI solutions for automotive Electronic Control Units (ECUs). The new solutions will combine NXP’s automotive processors S32G and Layerscape, along with Hailo-8 processor. Hailo-8 is an AI processor for edge computing with up to 26 tera-operations per second (TOPS) at a typical power consumption of 2.5 W. The solutions offer an open software ecosystem for applications and software stacks.

The first solution, powered by the Arm based NXP S32G processor combined with up to two Hailo-8™ AI processors delivering up to 52 TOPS. The second solution, powered by the Arm based NXP Layerscape platform and combined with up to 6 Hailo-8 processors, delivers a high-performance of up to 156 TOPS. “We are excited to partner with a major player like NXP to demonstrate the true potential of AI for automotive,” said Orr Danon, CEO of Hailo.

“We look forward to continuing to work with NXP to expand our edge processing solutions to a broad range of demanding applications including industrial & heavy machinery, robotics, and more.” The NXP-Hailo joint solutions are already being utilized by customers, including MOTER Technologies, which is using the Arm-based NXP S32G processor combined with a Hailo-8 M.2 AI accelerator module for Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) applications.

The evaluation boards were designed and produced by the Germany-based MicroSys, who cooperates with NXP as well as with Hailo. The miriac® AIP-S32G274A and miriac® AIP-LX2160A NXP-Hailo automotive based application-ready platforms are available from MicroSys, as well as development platforms by NXP: BlueBox 3.0 (Layerscape LX2160A and S32G and GoldBox (S32G). Both are compatible with Hailo-8™ M.2 AI Acceleration Modules.

Variscite achieved a Company Value of $250 million

The Lod-based (near Tel aviv) Variscite achieved a valuation of $250 million as part of a transaction in which Telsys Ltd. increases its holdings in the company. Telsys has announced that it will acquire 2.31% of Variscite’s shares for approximately $5.78 million. Prior to the transaction, Telsys held 68.4% of Variscite’s shares. The second-largest shareholder in the company is Arledan Technologies, which holds 20.3% of its shares.

During Q3 2020, Variscite’s sales totaled NIS 49.99 million, compared with NIS 42.76 million last year. Telsys reported that the growth stemmed from increased demand for the production of products related to the COVID-19 crisis. To tackle the COVID-19 crisis, Variscite had increased its inventories by NIS 11 million to ensure orders were not delayed due to supply chain difficulties.

Partnership with NXP

Variscite employs approximately 90 employees and is is developing, producing and manufacturing ARM-based System on Modules (SoM) that meet military, industrial and medical standards. Its modules provide the computing core for other products, such as robotics systems, medical devices, industrial systems, etc. It has a strategic partnership with NXP, which gives it initial access to i.MX processors even before they hit the market.

In September this year, Variscite announced a new card based on the i.MX 8M Plus. It is a family of heterogeneous application core processors based on more than one architecture. It includes quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processors, a single-core ARM Cortex-M7 processor for real-time processing applications, a neural network accelerator (Vivante VIP8000), a DSP processor for audio signal processing, and two built-in image signal processors (ISPs).

In the first nine months of 2020, its sales amounted to NIS 148.73 million, compared with sales of NIS 130.42 million in the corresponding period last year. Variscite’s parent company, Telsys, is still battling the consequences of the discontinuation of work vis-à-vis Texas Instruments (TI), which has decided to stop working with most of the distributors in the world and focus mainly on direct sales. In the third quarter of 2020, sales in its distribution segment amounted to NIS 26.5 million, compared with sales of NIS 34.5 million last year. Telsys is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange at a market value of approximately NIS 826 million.

FiRa to Transform UWB into a Ranging Standard for New Services

Photo above: NXP’s development board with 2.4GHz IEEE 802.15.4 compliant transceiver

NXP Semiconductors, Samsung, Bosch, Sony, ASSA ABLOY Group, HID,  LitePoint and TTA Established FiRa Consortium to develop fine ranging and positioning capabilities on top of the Ultra-Wideband communication Technology describes in IEEE standard 802.15.4/4z. The new coalition is designed to grow the Ultra-Wideband (UWB) ecosystem so new use cases for fine ranging capabilities.

The FiRa name, which stands for “Fine Ranging,” highlights UWB technology’s unique ability to deliver accurate measurements of distance or determining the relative position of a target. The consortium members believe that UWB technology can outperforms other technologies in terms of accuracy, power consumption, robustness in RF connection, and security.

IEEE standard 802.15.4/4z defines the essential characteristics for low-data-rate wireless connectivity and enhanced ranging. FiRa Consortium to develop an interoperability standard based on the IEEE’s profiled features, defining mechanisms that are out of scope of the IEEE standard to support rapid development of specific use cases.

Some of these use cases include Seamless Access Control, Location-Based Services and Device-to-Device (Peer-to-Peer) Services. In Seamless Access Control, UWB can identify an individual’s approach toward or away from a secured entrance, verify security credentials, and let the authorized individual pass through the entrance without physically presenting the credential.

In Location-Based Services, UWB can offers precise positioning, even in congested multipath signal environments, making it easier to navigate large venues such as airports and shopping malls or find a car in a multi-story parking garage. In Device-to-Device use case, it may provide precise relative distance and direction between two devices, and letting devices to find the relative location of each other, even without infrastructures such as anchors or access points.

The 802.15.4 standard is widely used in a variety of applications that use ranging capabilities. In January 2018, in response to demand for enhanced operation, the 802.15.4z working group was established to define the PHY and MAC layers for High Rate PHY (HRP) and Low Rate PHY (LRP). IEEE 802.15.4z will focus on additional coding and preamble options, as well as improvements to existing modulations to increase the integrity and accuracy of ranging measurements, with a typical range of up 200 meters for the radio.

FiRa Consortium is focused on what the IEEE has already established for HRP to definemechanisms which are out of scope of the IEEE standard, including an application layer. The Consortium is also pursues other activities, such as developing service-specific protocols for multiple verticals and defining parameters for a range of applications, including physical access control, location-based services, device-to-device services, and more.