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Linux-driven module and dev kit combine Apollo Lake with FPGA

Jun 8, 2020 — by Eric Brown 602 views

Exor and Arrow announced a “GigaSOM GS01” module and 10GbE equipped dev kit that runs RT Linux on an Apollo Lake along with a Cyclone 10 GX FPGA. The products offer TSN, fieldbus protocol, and Corvina Cloud support.

Italian embedded hardware firm Exor Embedded is collaborating with Arrow to launch a GigaSOM GS01 module and a GS01 development kit based on it that combine an Intel Apollo Lake SoC with an Intel Cyclone 10 GX FPGA. The processors are tightly linked via a high-throughput, dual-lane PCIe Gen2 interconnect, and the module is soldered to the dev kit’s carrier board, which features dual 10GbE SFP+ ports. The platform provides the combined capabilities of an industrial PC, an HMI controller, and PLCs, says Exor.

GigaSOM GS01 and Corvina Cloud conceptual diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The GigaSOM GS01 ships with a Linux BSP and SDK based on OSADL’s Real-time Linux. An Android BSP is optional, and the platform is also compatible with Windows. Exor also supplies an FPGA reference design package that supports time-sensitive networking (TSN) for “managing synchronised and real-time smart-factory applications.”

Other bundled software includes an evaluation version of Exor’s OpenHMI Software Platform, which is found on Exor’s i.MX6UL based OpenHMI nS01 and STM32MP157 based OpenHMI nS02 SBC kits. OpenHMI integrates Brownfield Protocols communication (Modbus, OPC UA, etc.), as well as Exor’s VPN-enabled Corvina Cloud industrial IoT, sensor-to-cloud connectivity management software.


The GigaSOM GS01 module connects via MQTT to Corvina Cloud, which “provides resources such as machine model instances on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis and has features to help users derive visual trends and analytic apps leveraging collected data,” says Exor. OpenHMI also provides support for public clouds like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud, and integrates a IoT dashboard creator for web and local display visualization.

The GigaSOM GS01 module has a Raspberry Pi-like, 81.6 x 54 x 4.9mm footprint. This is smaller than the 84 x 55mm COM Express Mini Type 10 form factor, which has been adopted by Apollo Lake based modules such as the Ibase ET875 module.

This is the first x86 board we can recall that includes an Intel Cyclone 10 GX, an up to 220K LE FPGA that we have seen on Arm modules such as Armadeus’s i.MX6-based Armadeus APF6_SP. You can combine Apollo Lake and a Cyclone 10 GX on the UP Core Plus SBC via Aaeon’s AI Plus daughterboard.

The GigaSOM GS01 is available in 4x SKUs, giving you a choice of a dual-core Atom x5-E3930 with 4GB LPDDR4 and 32GB eMMC or a quad-core x5-E3940 with 8GB and 64GB. Each is available with or without the Cyclone 10 GX. All the models support -40 to 85°C operation.

GigaSOM GS01 block diagram and specs
(click images to enlarge)

The module supplies a variety of I/O as shown in the chart above, including DP, eDP, MIPI-CSI, SATA, GbE, and USB 3.0. On the FPGA side, there are 34 LVDS pairs plus 6x 10GbE transceivers, as well as dual CAN support.

GS01 dev kit

The GS01 dev kit’s carrier board directly solders down the GigaSOM GS01 module for greater reliability. The board uses the high-end model with the Atom-E3940 and FPGA.

The carrier board is equipped with a microSD slot and dual M.2 B-key slots for SATA storage. One is dedicated to storage and the other also supports USB, PCIe, etc. There is also a M.2 E-key slot and a SIM card slot.

The GS01 dev kit is further equipped with a 10/100 Ethernet port and dual 10GbE SFP+ ports. USB features include USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 host ports, a micro-USB 3.0 OTG port, a USB 2.0 header, and a micro-USB 2.0 debug port.

GS01 dev kit and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

Triple display support is provided via HDMI and DisplayPorts and a dual LVDS connector. You also get a MIPI-CSI camera interface and dual audio I/O jacks: one driven by I2S and the other by HDA.

Additional interfaces include an RS232/RS422/RS485 port, dual CAN ports, and FMC and SSW connectors. Onboard interfaces including SPI, fast SPI, I2C, SMB, LPC, fan, 2x JTAG, and 2x GPIO.

The well-documented board is further equipped with a 5V terminal block input, power and reset buttons, and LEDs. You also get an RTC with battery.

Further information

The GigaSOM GS01 and GS01 dev kit are not yet shipping, but Arrow has posted some shopping pages with prices. The GigaSOM GS01 module starts at $443.12 in single units ($273.91 in 1K volume) and goes up to $828.51 ($568.43 at 1K) for the Atom-E3940 and FPGA. The GS01 dev kit with the same high-end module sells for $2,101.23.

More information may be found in Exor’s announcement, which we saw posted on Robotics and Automation News, and the GigaSOM GS01 and dev kit product pages.

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