Rockchip is releasing low power SOC with NPU targeting deep learning.

1808

We are hacking cheap Chinese soldering robot aiming to make it usable with camera fiducials and solder joint inspection. I shared some info on Hackaday 2018 Belgrade conference.

As we want to make the robot easy to use we are looking around for capable SOC with Deep Learning capability. It seems the only embedded available solution now is nVidia.

Allwinner has put in their V5 SOC info about AI and Trensorflow support, but looking at info for the only available board on the market it looks just statement and no actual implementation.

The AI they advertise looks more like OpenCV / Tensorflow lite libraries using the V5 GPUs, but not real NPU.

Rockchip seems to be this time a little bit ahead of Allwinner and has released RK1808 and RK3399pro SOCs.

Some info also start to appear in their rockchip-linux repositories.

We got RK1808 brief datasheet and here are the SOC internals:

screenshot from 2019-01-25 12-52-48

  • Dual core Cortex-A35
  • Internal 2MB SRAM
  • DDR 32-bit data width, 2 ranks max 2GB of DDR3/DDR3L/LPDDR3/LPDDR3L -1600
  • Neural Process Unit with 512KB internal buffer and Support for: max 1920 Int8, max 192 Int16 and max 64 FP16 MAC operations per cycle
  • eMMC 4.5 1-4-8 bit max 150MB/s
  • SD/MMC support
  • SPI Flash x1-4-8 data
  • video encoder/decoder up to 1080p
  • video input DPI 8-10-12-16 bit up to 150MB/s
  • camera input MIPI CSI up to 4 data lane, 2.0Gbps, MIPI-HS, MIPI-LP
  • LCD RGB 8/8/8 up to 1280×800@60fps
  • MIPI DSI 1920×1080 up to 4 data lane, 2.0GbpsA
  • Audio I2S
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB2.0 HOST/OTG
  • USB3.0 5Gbps
  • PCIe 1/2 links with 2.5Gbps per link
  • SPI, I2C, UART
  • x4 10bit SAR ADC 1Msps
  • -40+125C operating temperature, targeting automotive and industrial vision apps

This chip is definitely not hobby friendly with FCCSP 420 0.3mm balls spaced at 0.5/0.35mm!

screenshot from 2019-01-25 13-41-56

Price info is not available yet. First evaluation boards will be ready end of March 2019. Rockchip will sell SDK with the NPU API also at unknown yet price.

Rockchip also upgraded their RK3399 including inside RK1808 and naming it RK3399Pro.
They keep the same RK3399 ball layout, so people who already made RK3399 boards can upgrade with RK3399Pro without changing lot on their PCB layout.

How they do it? They bond RK1808 in the same package and connect RK3399 with RK1808 via USB3.0 this is why RK3399Pro has NO externally available USB3.0:

screenshot from 2019-01-25 13-48-45

How they will manage power dissipation when they put together two quite power hungry chips is yet to be seen. RK3399 alone requires quite big heatsink as it dissipates up to 20W when the Cortex-A72 cores are running.

Electronica 2018 highlights – AI, Smart Solutions, Communication and Security

electronica2018

Electronica in Munich trade fair is the most important meeting place for the electronics industry. Last week more than 3000 exhibitors and 80 000 visitors met together .

What was very visible this years is that beside the traditional big number of German companies the second biggest by number of companies exhibitor was China. There were both big:

cnbig

 

and small companies:

cnsmall

Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, Smart solutions, Connectivity and security were dominating topics among the exhibitors.

LoRa and NB-IoT solutions were present on almost every fifth booth 🙂