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BeagleBone AI SBC features dual -A15 SoC with “EVE” AI cores

Feb 27, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 2956 views

BeagleBoard.org unveiled a “BeagleBone AI” SBC with a dual Cortex-A15 TI AM5729 SoC that offers AI support via dual C66x DSPs and 4x EVE cores. The SBC has 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, WiFi, and GbE.

When Texas Instruments announced its quad-core, Cortex-A53 AM65x SoC late last year, we wondered if it might power the long-awaited successor to the BeagleBone Black. We were wrong: longtime TI-linked open source community BeagleBoard.org has announced a BeagleBone AI SBC that instead uses a new dual Cortex-A15 Sitara AM5729 SoC. Yet unlike previous AM57x SoCs, such as the AM5728 that powered the BeagleBoard-X15, the AM5729 includes four powerhouse embedded-vision-engine (EVE) cores with AI capabilities.



BeagleBone AI prototype

No clock rate was provided for the AM5729’s dual -A15 cores, but the AM5728 is clocked to 1.5GHz. Like that earlier SoC it features a PowerVR SGX544 3D GPU and Vivante GC320 Core 2D accelerator, according to the TechRepublic story that alerted us to the new SBC.


BeagleBone Black

As indicated by BeagleBoard.org’s limited product page, the SoC can run AI code on the SoC’s dual TI C66x DSPs and the four new EVE cores. All these AI-enabled chips are supported through an optimized TIDL machine learning OpenCL API with pre-installed tools, says the open source project.

TechRepublic noted a BeagleBoard claim that calculations for computer-vision models on the AM5729 run at 8x times the performance per watt compared to the EVE-less AM5728. The EVE cores were designed by TI for automotive vision applications via a Vision AcclerationPac architecture. A TI white paper on the technology may be found in this white paper (PDF).



TI Vision AcclerationPac architecture with EVE cores
(click image to enlarge)

Like the 1GHz, Cortex-A8-based Sitara AM3358 that powers the many BeagleBone SBC variants, there are also 4x programmable, real-time PRU cores.

The BeagleBone AI doubles the RAM to 1GB and quadruples the eMMC storage to 16GB eMMC compared to the BB Black. The board provides GbE and high-speed WiFi, as well as a USB Type-A port and a USB Type-C port “for power and superspeed dual-role controller.”

The BeagleBone AI will offer BeagleBone Black header and mechanical compatibility, as well as a “zero-download out-of-box software experience.” Presumably, it will continue to run Linux and ship with open specifications. The SBC is aimed at “everyday automation in industrial, commercial and home applications,” says BeagleBoard.org.

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the BeagleBone AI. You can sign up for notifications at the BeagleBone AI product page.

 

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