Applications processors deliver safe AI-enabled edge platforms

5th January 2023
Mick Elliott

The i.MX 95 family is the newest addition to NXP Semiconductors i.MX 9 series of applications processors.

It combines high-performance compute, immersive Arm Mali-powered 3D graphics, an innovative new NXP accelerator for machine learning, and high-speed data processing.

Together, this technology enables advanced applications in automotive, industrial, networking, connectivity, advanced human machine interface (HMI), and more.

Additionally, the i.MX 95 family delivers high performance safety and security features, developed in compliance with automotive ASIL-B and industrial SIL-2 functional safety standards and including an integrated EdgeLock secure enclave.

A critical requirement for the next wave of edge applications is advanced processing and machine learning capabilities, combined with high-speed connectivity, in order to better analyze the environment and make intelligent decisions locally.

The i.MX 95 family is the first i.MX applications processor family to integrate NXP’s eIQ Neutron neural processing unit (NPU) and a new image signal processor (ISP) developed by NXP to help developers to build these powerful, next-generation edge platforms.

“The i.MX 95 family brings unparalleled features and performance to markets like automotive and industrial where security and safety are key. The i.MX 95 brings together NXP eIQ Neutron NPU, Arm Mali graphics, integrated heterogeneous safety domain, and networking capabilities to create a truly unique solution,” said Rafael Sotomayor, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Secure Connected Edge at NXP. “Combining our deep expertise in functional safety with AI acceleration, high performance CPU cores, and high-throughput connectivity, NXP is creating the standard for a new generation of safe and secure edge platforms.”

The i.MX 95 family enables machine vision through its integrated eIQ Neutron NPU as part of a vision processing pipeline for use with multiple camera sensors or network-attached smart cameras. The i.MX 95 SoC integrates an NXP ISP supporting a wide array of imaging sensors to enable vision-capable industrial, robotics, medical and automotive applications, all backed by comprehensive NXP developer support.

A rich, vibrant graphics experience for the user is enabled by Arm Mali GPU capabilities, scaling from multi-display automotive infotainment centers to industrial and IoT HMI based applications.

The i.MX 95 family capabilities include a multi-core application domain with up to six Arm Cortex-A55 cores, as well as an independent safety domain consisting of high-performance Arm Cortex-M7 and Arm

Cortex-M33 CPUs, combining low-power, real-time, and high-performance processing.

The new processors are designed to enable ISO 26262 ASIL-B and SIL-2 IEC 61508 compliant platforms, with the functional safety domain serving as a critical capability for many automotive and industrial applications.

Platforms based on i.MX 95 serve to help ensure safety critical actions in a vehicle, like voice warnings, instrumentation, and cameras meet high reliability standards set by automotive OEMs. Similarly, in industrial factory automation platforms, the functional safety domain helps to ensure that an industrial control system will always return to a pre-determined state, even when rest of the system fails.

The next generation of edge platforms for Industry 4.0, automotive connectivity domain controllers, and IoT smart home gateways will benefit from the integrated 10-gigabit Ethernet plus two 1-gigabit Ethernet ports, with TSN capabilities.

Adding wireless connectivity such as Wi -Fi, Bluetooth LE, satellite radio, or 5G, is simple thanks to two independent PCIe ports, USB 3 port and integrated BSP-level drivers for NXP’s wide array of wireless connectivity solutions. With expansive capabilities and robust processing, next-generation platforms based on i.MX 95 family application processors will be capable of securely processing local and network data.

Security is an essential foundation for edge applications. The i.MX 95 family integrates a secure enclave to simplify implementation of security critical functions like secure boot, cryptography, trust provisioning, and run-time attestation.

Combined with NXP’s EdgeLock 2 GO key management services, manufacturers can securely provision i.MX 95 SoC-based products for secure remote management of devices deployed in the field, including secure over-the-air updates (OTA).

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