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Compact edge AI PC combines Apollo Lake with Coral Edge TPU

Apr 26, 2021 — by Eric Brown 557 views

Kontron’s “KBox A-203-AI-GC” edge AI computer runs Linux on an Apollo Lake SoC and supplies a Coral Edge TPU, up to 8GB LPDDR4, DP, SATA, and a pair each of GbE, USB, serial, and mini-PCIe.

The fanless, rugged, KBox A-203-AI-GC is the latest in Kontron’s line of compact KBox edge computers, including its Raspberry Pi CM3 based KBox A-330-RPI and Coffee Lake powered KBox B-201-CFL. Unlike those models, the Apollo Lake driven KBox A-203-AI-GC ships with a neural processing accelerator in the form of Google’s up to 4-TOPS (or 2-TOPS at 1W) Coral Edge TPU.

KBox A-203-AI-GC
(click image to enlarge)

The system is built around the KBox A-203, which escaped our attention when it was introduced in 2019. The key addition is the Coral Edge TPU, which based on the image, appears to be deployed via Google’s M.2 Accelerator B+M key module.

The KBox A-203-AI-GC ships with a pre-installed, Yocto-packaged Debian image optimized for running TensorFlow Lite on the Edge TPU and augmented with application examples. Kontron KEAPI middleware for hardware monitoring is also available. Applications include image and video data processing for visual inspection, quality assurance, predictive maintenance, sorting or object recognition, and AI-enabled edge device or gateway systems.


The 150 x 58 x 100mm computer ships with Intel’s quad-core, 1.6GHz/2.0GHz Atom x7-E3950 with a 12W TDP and Intel HD 500/505 graphics. You can load 2GB to 8GB LPDDR4-2133, and storage features include up to 32GB eMMC, a microSD slot and a 2.5-inch SATA SSD slot. More storage may be possible via the 2x full-size mini-PCIe slots, which also support wireless modules with the help of 2x antenna mounts.

The KBox A-203-AI-GC is further equipped with 2x Intel I210 powered GbE ports with Wake-on-LAN support. Other features include DP 1.2 at up to 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz plus RS232/RS422/RS485, optional RS232, and 2x USB 3.0 ports. There is also a TPM 2.0 chip, 3x LEDs, and an optional USB camera with V4L2 firmware.

The 1-kg system has a 24VDC terminal block input and runs at a typical 15W. Ruggedization features include -20 to 60°C support with 93% @ 40°C non-condensing relative humidity tolerance plus 1G vibration (IEC 60068-2-6) and 15G shock (IEC 60068-2-27) resistance and 2000-meter altitude operation.

Further information

The KBox A-203-AI-GC is “coming soon” and ready for order at an undisclosed price. More information may be found in Kontron’s announcement and product page.

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