The Renesas RZ/A2M processor enables embedded AI image processing in smart appliances, service robots and industrial machinary

By Alex Pluemer, contributing writer

Renesas
Electronics Corp. has unveiled a new microprocessor for embedded
artificial intelligence (e-AI)
image processing for applications such
as smart appliances, service robots and industrial machinery. The RZ/A2M
microprocessor
implements Renesas’ proprietary Dynamically
Reconfigurable Processor (DRP) to deliver real-time image processing while
significantly reducing power consumption compared with its predecessors.

The RZ/A2M
makes external DRAM unnecessary by being outfitted with large-capacity (4 MB) on-chip
RAM and supports the MIPI camera interface commonly found in smartphones and
other mobile devices.  The RZ/A2M also
boasts increased network functionality through the incorporation of two-channel
Ethernet support and greater network security by implementing an on-chip
hardware encryption accelerator.

The RZ/A2M
with DRP enables image-based AI functionality involving large amounts of data and
more powerful processing performance than achievable with conventional waveform
measurement and analysis. By reducing the amount of power consumed during
real-time image processing, the RZ/A2M will allow battery-powered devices to
allocate power to perform other operations such as biometric authentication via
fingerprint or retinal scans. 

 

“Since
real-time image processing can be accomplished while consuming very little
power, battery-powered devices can perform tasks such as real-time image
recognition based on camera input, biometric authentication using fingerprints
or iris scans, and high-speed scanning by handheld scanners,” said Renesas. “This
solves several issues associated with cloud-based approaches, such as the
difficulty of achieving real-time performance, assuring privacy, and
maintaining security.”

Samples of
the RZ/A2M are currently available from Renesas, with mass production scheduled
to begin in Q1 2019. Monthly volume production for all RZ/A2M versions is
expected to reach 400,000 units by 2021. The MPUs are accompanied by a DRP
image-processing library, reference software and a development board to assist
developers in evaluating HMI function and image-processing functionality and
performance.