IMC Newsdesk

CEVA sensor hub DSP architecture for Industry 4.0

  • April 22, 2020
  • William Payne

CEVA has launched a sensor hub DSP architecture designed to handle a broad range of sensor processing and sensor fusion workloads for contextually-aware devices in robotics, AR/VR headsets, and Industry 4.0 applications.

SensPro is designed to address the need for specialised processors to handle the proliferation of different types of sensors such as camera, Radar, LiDAR, Time-of-Flight (ToF), microphones and inertial measurement units (IMU). These typically generate a multitude of data types and bit-rates derived from imaging, sound, RF and motion, which can be used to create a full 3D contextually-aware device.

The SensPro architecture is designed to offer a combination of high performance single and half precision floating-point math required for high dynamic range signal processing, point cloud creation and deep neural network (DNN) training, along with a large amount of 8- and 16-bit parallel processing capacity required for voice, imaging, DNN inference processing and Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM). SensPro incorporates CEVA’s CEVA-BX scalar DSP, which offers a migration path from single sensory system designs to multi-sensor, contextual-aware designs.

Dimitrios Damianos, technology & market analyst of the sensing division at Yole Développement said: “The proliferation of sensors in intelligent systems continues to increase, providing more precise modeling of the environment and context. Sensors are becoming smarter, and the goal is not to get more and more data from them, but higher quality of data especially in cases of environment/surround perception such as: environmental sensor hubs that use a combo of microphones, pressure, humidity, inertial, temperature and gas sensors (smart homes/offices) as well as situational awareness in ADAS/AV where many sensors (radar, LIDAR, cameras, IMU, ultrasonic, etc) must work together to make sense of their surroundings”.

Yohann Tschudi, technology & market analyst, computing and software, at Yole said: “The challenge is to process and fuse different types of data from different types of sensors. Using a mix of scalar and vector processing, floating and fixed point math coupled with an advanced micro-architecture, SensPro offers system and SoC designers a unified processor architecture to address the needs of any contextually-aware multi-sensor device.”

SensPro uses a configurable 8-way VLIW architecture, allowing it to be tuned to address a range of applications. It employs a micro-architecture that combines scalar and vector processing units and incorporates a deep pipeline enabling operating speeds of 1.6GHz at a 7nm process node. 

SensPro incorporates a CEVA-BX2 scalar processor for control code execution with a 4.3 CoreMark/MHz score. It adopts an SIMD scalable processor architecture for parallel processing and is configurable for up to 1024 8×8 MACs, 256 16×16 MACs, dedicated 8×2 Binary Neural Networks support, as well as 64 single precision and 128 half precision floating point MACs. This allows it to deliver 3 TOPS for 8×8 networks inferencing, 20 TOPS for Binary Neural Networks inferencing, and 400 GFLOPS for floating point arithmetic. Other key features of SensPro include a memory architecture providing a bandwidth of 400GB per second, 4-way instruction cache, 2-way vector data cache, DMA, and queue and buffer managers for offloading the DSP from data transactions.

SensPro is accompanied by a set of software and development tools, including an LLVM C/C++ compiler, Eclipse based integrated development environment (IDE), OpenVX API, software libraries for OpenCL, CEVA deep neural network (CDNN) graph compiler including the CDNN-Invite API for inclusion of custom AI engines, CEVA-CV imaging functions, CEVA-SLAM software development kit and vision libraries, ClearVox noise reduction, WhisPro speech recognition, MotionEngine sensor fusion, and the SenslinQ software framework.

Ran Snir, Vice President of Research and Development at CEVA, commented: “With the growth in the number and variety of sensors in modern systems, and their substantially different computation needs, we set out to design a new architecture from the ground up to address this challenge. We constructed SensPro as a highly configurable, holistic architecture that could handle these intensive workloads using a combination of scalar, vector processing and AI acceleration, while utilising the latest micro-architecture design techniques of deep pipelining, parallelism, and multi-tasking. The result is the most powerful DSP architecture ever conceived for sensor hubs and we’re truly excited to work with our customers and partners to bring contextually-aware products to market based on it.”