Kinara and NXP team up to provide customers with scalable AI solutions

Ravi Annavajjhala, Chief Executive Officer at Kinara

Kinara, the developers of AI processors for edge computing applications, announced its collaboration with NXP Semiconductors, the secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications. Through this collaboration, clients of NXP Semiconductors’ AI-enabled product portfolio will have the option to further scale their AI acceleration needs by utilizing the Kinara Ara-1 Edge AI processor for high performance inferencing with deep learning models​.

What does the collaboration mean for clients?

Both firms have integrated the computer vision capabilities of the NXP i.MX applications processors with the performance- and power-optimized inferencing of the Kinara Ara-1 AI processor to deliver computer vision analytics for a range of applications like smart retail, smart city, and industrial. Kinara’s patented Edge AI processor, named Ara-1, delivers a combination of performance, power, and price for integrated cameras and edge servers.

Kinara AI complements its processing technology with a comprehensive and robust set of development tools that allow its customers to easily convert their neural network models into highly optimized computation flows ready to be deployed on the Ara-1 chip.

NXP’s AI processing solutions encompass its microcontrollers (MCUs), i.MX RT series of crossover MCUs and i.MX applications processor families, which represent a variety of multicore solutions for multimedia and display applications. NXP’s portfolio covers a very large portion of AI processing needs natively, and for any use case that requires even higher performance AI due to increases in frame rates, image resolution, and number of sensors.

The demand can be accommodated by integrating NXP processors with Kinara’s Ara-1 to deliver a scalable, system-level solution where clients can partition the AI workload between the NXP device and the Ara-1, while keeping app software running on the NXP processors.

What were the executives’ thoughts on the partnership?

“Intelligent vision processing is an exploding market that is a natural fit for machine learning. But vision systems are getting increasingly complex, with more and larger sensors, and model sizes are growing,” said Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at TIRIAS Research.

“To keep pace with these trends requires dedicated AI accelerators that can handle the processing load efficiently. The best modular approach to vision systems is a combination of an established embedded processor and a power-efficient AI accelerator, like the combination of NXP’s i.MX family of embedded applications processors and the Kinara AI accelerator.”

“Our processing solutions and AI software stacks enable a very wide range of AI performance requirements – this is a necessity given our extremely broad customer base,” said Joe Yu, Vice President and General Manager, IoT Edge Processing, NXP Semiconductors.

“By working with Kinara to satisfy our client’s needs at the highest end of edge AI processing, we will bring high performance AI to smart retail, smart city, and industrial markets.”

“We see two general trends with our Edge AI clients. One trend is a shift towards a Kinara solution that significantly reduces the cost and energy of their current platforms that use a traditional GPU for AI acceleration. The other trend calls for replacing Edge AI accelerators from well-known brands with Kinara’s Ara-1 allowing the customer to achieve at least a 4x performance improvement at the same or better price,” said Ravi Annavajjhala, CEO, Kinara.

“Our team up will allow us to offer compelling solutions that include commercial-grade Linux and driver support that complements the end-to-end inference pipeline.” Access the White Paper on how the collaboration can help boost AI performance of embedded platforms here.