ST launches new IIoT Edge AI chips

  • May 23, 2023
  • William Payne

STMicroelectronics has introduced a new generation of its STM32 MPUs with a new architecture built upon the same ecosystem. The 64-bit chips come with SESIP Level 3 certification, industrial-application-ready interfaces and dedicated Edge AI acceleration.

The first product line in this new generation, the STM32MP25, has a single or dual 64-bit Arm Cortex-A35 cores running efficiently at 1.5GHz, together with a 400MHz Cortex-M33 embedded core that handles real-time processing.

A dedicated neural processing unit adds up to 1.35 TOPS performance optimised for Edge AI acceleration in applications such as machine vision and predictive maintenance.

The STM32MP25 includes Gigabit time-sensitive networking (TSN) support and a two-port Gigabit Ethernet TSN switch, with PCIe, USB 3.0, and CAN-FD peripherals. This provides connectivity for real-time industrial applications, data concentrators and gateways, and communication equipment.

Combined, the processing and networking capabilities improve detection and feature recognition for security applications and industrial automation. The MPU can acquire video from a 5Mpixel sensor at 30 frames per second (fps), perform analytics with the Edge AI accelerator, and send relevant video (encoding with an HW encoder) with detection metadata employing Gigabit Ethernet TSN in real-time streaming mode.

A 3D graphics processing unit (GPU) with 1080p resolution for graphics and video capabilities permits rich user interfaces, with support including Vulkan real-time graphics for Android applications. A1080p encoder/decoder and multiple display connections including LVDS, 4-lane MIPI DSI, and a MIPI CSI-2 camera interface simplify connecting displays and digital cameras including raw-Bayer image sensors.

Security features ensuring SESIP Level 3 certification include Arm’s TrustZone architecture and resource isolation framework (RIF). This is complemented with secure key storage, secure boot, a unique device ID in one-time programmable (OTP) memory, hardware cryptographic engines, and on-the-fly DDR encryption/decryption.

The devices are specified over the extended temperature range from -40°C to 125°C for thermal management and reliability in industrial environments.

A selection of package options is offered including a 0.8mm-pitch chip-scale package (TFBGA). This helps ease PCB design routing and allows economical designs down to four layers avoiding costly laser vias.

Developers can access the STM32MPU ecosystem which contains the OpenSTLinux distribution including an AI framework (X-Linux-AI), as well as STM32Cube development tools. The STM32Cube firmware will run bare metal or RTOS on the Cortex-M33 embedded core.

“The new STM32MP2 Series devices further our investment in application processors, combining 64-bit cores with Edge AI acceleration, advanced multimedia features, graphics processing, and digital connectivity,” said Ricardo De Sa Earp, Executive Vice-President and General-Purpose Microcontrollers Sub-Group GM, STMicroelectronics. “Also integrating advanced security features in hardware, the new MPUs are ready for emerging opportunities in secure Industry 4.0, IoT, and rich user-interface applications.”

ST is now delivering samples of STM32MP25 devices along with evaluation boards to select OEM customers. Volume production of chips and boards is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2024. The company showcased its new STM32MP2 MPUs at the STM32 Summit event in Shenzhen, China on May 12-13.