Applications processors for 'new era' of secure edge intelligence

November 12, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Applications processors for 'new era' of secure edge intelligence
Semiconductor manufacturer NXP Semiconductors has announced a family of applications processors designed for automotive, smart home, smart building and smart factory applications, which leverage edge machine learning to anticipate and automate based on user needs.

The first applications processors in the company’s i.MX 9 series, the new i.MX 93 family combines the Arm Ethos-U65 microNPU with state-of-the-art security and a high degree of integration to deliver efficient, fast, secure machine learning at the edge. These family attributes, says the company, enable developers to address diverse areas, from voice-assisted smart home and building systems, to low-power industrial gateways and automotive driver monitoring systems.

The i.MX 93 family leverages a heterogenous multi-core architecture, including 1-2x Arm Cortex-A55 applications processors running up to 1.7GHz and a real-time Cortex-M33 microcontroller sub-system with full access to all SoC peripherals, including the industry’s first implementation of a 256 MACs/cycle Arm Ethos-U65 microNPU. This architecture, says the company, delivers best-in-class, power-efficient machine learning performance across a variety of applications, including compact, battery-powered IoT devices, which require highly capable and efficient processors to maintain a longer battery life.

The i.MX 93 family is highly integrated, supporting a wide variety of industrial and automotive connectivity interface protocols, in addition to broad multi-media interfaces, making it easier for designers to connect the i.MX 93 devices across multiple systems. It also reduces the need for external hardware components and additional design work, decreasing time to market and reducing overall systems costs.

"The world is rapidly accelerating towards 75 billion connected devices by 2030 and it’s crucial to ensure that we’re building energy efficiency and security as well as intelligence into each and every device," says Ron Martino, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Edge Processing for NXP Semiconductors. "The highly integrated i.MX 93 applications processors will help open an entirely new range of use cases at the edge, where you need to have that close tie-in to the sensor data to make fast decisions. This will enable a new generation of secured, efficient, intelligent devices across IoT, industrial IoT and automotive applications."

The company's EdgeLock secure enclave, a preconfigured, self-managed and autonomous security subsystem, is a

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