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NXP Promotes Hailo-8 NPUs on its Auto SoCs

Written by Eric Brown

NXP and Hailo agreed to promote the use of the Hailo-8 NPU on products using NXP’s S32G and LX1062 automotive SoCs, including several MicroSys Miriac boards and its own BlueBox and GoldBox automotive development platforms.

NXP is making Hailo’s up to 26-TOPS, 3-TOPS per Watt Hailo-8 NPU the favored AI chip on its S32G and Layerscape automotive SoCs, starting with the LX2160A. The partnership is aimed at bringing AI to automotive Electronic Control Units (ECUs) with requirements for sensor fusion and other AI-related automotive tasks.


Hailo-8 M.2

MicroSys is deploying the Hailo-8 M.2 AI Acceleration Module on boards that showcase both platforms. NXP is featuring the NPU on its BlueBox (S32G with LX2160A) and GoldBox (S32G) automotive development platforms. Hailo-8 currently runs only on Linux-driven systems.

One of the boards featured in the NXP/Hailo announcement is a MicroSys miriac AIP-LX2160A dev kit announced in September, which runs Linux on the 16-core, Cortex-A72 LX2160A via its MPX-LX2160A module. The kit adds 5x Hailo-8 NPUs, as well as 16x PCIe lanes and a pair each of 25GbE, 10GbE, and GbE ports. NXP says the kit now supports up to 6x Hailo-8 NPUs for up to 156 TOPS.

MicroSys miriac AIP-S32G274A with Hailo-8 M.2 module
(click image to enlarge)

NXP also announced that MicroSys’ miriac AIP-S32G274A dev kit will offer the Hailo-8. The NXP S32G based board will support up to two Hailo-8 chips for up to 52 TOPS for service-oriented gateways, domain and zonal controllers, and safe compute platforms.

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miriac AIP-LX2160A (left) and the MPX-S32G274A module that powers the miriac AIP-S32G274A
(click images to enlarge)

The AIP-S32G274A builds upon the SODIMM-style miriac MPX-S32G274A compute module, which was announced in early 2020. The module is used on MicroSys’ miriac SBC-S32G274A for automotive networking. (We take a look at the AIP kit farther below.)

NXP S32G block diagram and its BlueBox automotive system
(click images to enlarge)

In addition to the Microsys announcements, NXP revealed that Hailo-8 is now available on its own BlueBox automotive platform, which combines the LX2160A and S32G. When we reported on it earlier this year, the box was said to offer an optional Kalray MPPA AI chip delivered via a PCIe card.

The Hailo-8 module is also available on NXP’s S32G powered GoldBox development platform. The GoldBox offers many of the same features found on the miriac dev kits, including 12x TSN switched Ethernet ports and 18x CAN/CAN-FD ports. Dual Hailo-8 modules use the GoldBox’s M.2 A+E-key and M-key slots. Like every other product mentioned in this story, it runs Linux.

GoldBox and its block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

NXP also noted that in October the company announced a partnership with MOTER Technologies to provide MOTER’s insurance industry focused secure data exchange platform on the Hailo-8 equipped GoldBox. The MOTER “data science” platform brings telemetry data from connected cars to the insurance industry, enabling Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) applications for risk assessment and cost modeling.

In related news, NXP and Otonomo recently announced a deal to integrate the Otonomo Mobility Intelligence Platform on S32G based systems. Applications include fleet and EV management, emergency services, traffic management, and more.

Also today NXP announced a partnership with Foxconn Industrial Internet (Fii) to develop a digital cockpit solution based on the NXP i.MX8 QuadMax. The platform will include digital clusters and a head-up display (HUD) system.

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MicroSys miriac AIP-S32G274A

Microsys’ miriac AIP-S32G274A differs from the SBC-S32G274A we covered earlier this year by offering the Hailo-8 option, as well as adding 6x SPS inputs (24V) and 6x SPS outputs. In this context, SPS presumably refers to the Serial Port Switch OBD2 interface. The AIP-S32G274A also provides twice the eMMC at 32GB and four times the QuadSPI flash at 512MB.

miriac AIP-S32G274A (left) and miriac SBC-S32G274A
(click images to enlarge)

Both dev kits build on the miriac MPX-S32G274A module, measure 200 x 140mm, and ship with 4GB soldered LPDDR4. They both supply TSN-switched 10/100Mbps, 4x GbE, 2.5GbE, and 6x T1 LAN ports. Most of the other specs are also the same, including 18x CAN, 4x LIN, 2x FlexRay, USB 2.0, and 12x analog inputs.

Both the AIP-S32G274A and SBC-S32G274A provide a mini-PCIe slot and an M.2 M-key slot, which on the AIP model is fitted with the Hailo-8 M.2 module. Presumably, the second Hailo-8 module either uses an adapter for the mini-PCIe slot or else there is a new mini-PCIe version of the Acceleration Module.

Designed as a network processor for ADAS and autonomous cars, NXP’s S32G runs Linux on a quad-core, Cortex-A53 block accompanied by 3x Cortex-M7 cores. The headless SoC is loaded with coprocessors including Ethernet packet forwarding and hardware security engines. Network accelerators include CAN FD, FlexRay, SPI, and LIN (Local Interconnect Network), as well as a Low Latency Communications Engine (LLCE).

Hailo has racked up a lot of hardware partnerships over the last two years, most recently with Kontron’s i.MX8M-based pITX-iMX8M Pico-ITX SBC and Whiskey Lake based KBox A-150-WKL system. The NXP deal is the first with a chipmaker, although two of its hardware partnerships run on Socionext Arm processors including Leopard Imaging’s EdgeTuring edge AI system, which runs on a quad -A7 Socionext SC2000.

“We are excited to partner with a major player like NXP to demonstrate the true potential of AI for automotive and beyond,” stated Orr Danon, CEO and Co-Founder of Hailo. “This partnership strengthens our position in the automotive sector, enabling us to further address the rapidly growing need for efficient and reliable technologies that process sensory information more efficiently and at greater speeds – in order to pave the way towards full autonomy.”

 
Further information

The MicroSys miriac AIP-LX2160A and miriac AIP-S32G274A dev kits, as well as the NXP BlueBox and GoldBox systems are all available with Hailo-8, with pricing undisclosed. We did not see the press release Hailo sent us posted elsewhere, but this recent Hailo blog posting about NXP/Hailo-8 pairings from Nov. 18 mentions the GoldBox and the miriac AIP-LX2160A bundles.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on December 16, 2021.

Hailo | www.hailo.ai

MicroSys | www.microsys.de

NXP Semiconductors | www.nxp.com

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NXP Promotes Hailo-8 NPUs on its Auto SoCs

by Eric Brown time to read: 4 min