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Brainchip and Socionext partner on low-power edge AI platform



Brainchip and video and imaging technology-maker Socionext Inc. have partnered to offer an Artificial Intelligence Platform reference design for edge applications such as facial recognition and analysis in surveillance and live-streaming systems at ultra-low power.

Socionext provides SoC (system-on-chip) technology, and brings its parallel multi-core processor SynQuacer SC2A11 to the new AI platform as a server solution. Socionext also played a role in the development of Brainchip’s Akida IC, and the companies plan to work together to expand the global edge AI market.

Brainchip, in addition to the Akida SoC, will provide training and technical support to customers, including network simulation on its Akida Development Environment (ADE), emulation on a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), and engineering application support. The result is a high-performance, small footprint, ultra low-power technology enabling a wide range of edge capabilities, including local inferencing and incremental learning, according to the announcement.

“Our neural network technology enables ultra-low power AI technology to be implemented effectively in edge applications,” says Louis DiNardo, CEO of BrainChip. “Edge devices have size and power consumption constraints that require a high degree of integration in IC solutions. The combination of BrainChip’s technology and Socionext’s ASIC expertise fulfills the requirements of edge applications. We look forward to working with the Socionext in commercial engagements.”

Brainchip opened the ADE and showcased its Akida edge processor earlier this year.

“As a leading provider of ASICs worldwide, we are pleased to offer our customers advanced technologies driving new innovations,” comments Socionext Inc. Corporate Executive Vice President Noriaki Kubo. “The Akida family of products allows us to stay at the forefront of the burgeoning AI market. BrainChip and Socionext have successfully collaborated on the Akida IC development and together, we aim to commercialize this product family and support our increasingly diverse customer base.”

Brainchip CEO Louis DiNardo, Founder and CTO Peter van der Made, and Founder and CDO Anil Mankar have provided a market and product development update to investors, meanwhile, revealing the company is close to a proof-of-concept agreement with a Detroit-based Tier 1 automaker. It is also moving forward with a proof-of-concept agreement with a European Tier 1 module supplier.

The smart home and smart city markets are also promising areas for Brainchip, according to the presentation.

The company is relatively unaffected by the pandemic, with internal communication and productivity remaining in a normal range, the executives say. The decision has been made to join in on production of a multi-project wafer to keep company costs down.

More funds will be needed to fuel Brainchip’s mission, and the company is evaluating its options for revenue or investment to secure capital. When it reached commercialization, the executives believe Brainchip will be positioned well for success, based on the more efficient system design or use of processing and power resources and broader applicability to different use cases of architectures based on its Akida technology, compared to the competition.

The company’s next financial update is scheduled for April 30.

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