Arm is added the Arm Cortex-M55 CPU and the Arm Ethos-U55 micro neural processing unit (microNPU) to its portfolio of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
The new IP and supporting unified toolchain offer AI hardware and software developers new levels of on-device ML processing for small, power-constrained IoT and embedded devices.
“Enabling AI everywhere requires device makers and developers to deliver machine learning locally on billions, and ultimately trillions of devices,” said Dipti Vachani, senior vice president and general manager, Automotive and IoT Line of Business, Arm. “With these additions to our AI platform, no device is left behind as on-device ML on the tiniest devices will be the new normal, unleashing the potential of AI securely across a vast range of life-changing applications.”
With the new offerings, Arm is reducing silicon and development costs and is speeding up time to market for product manufacturers looking to enhance digital signal processing (DSP) and ML capabilities on-device.
Cortex-M processors have become the computing platform of choice for developers, with Arm partners shipping more than 50 billion chips based on Cortex-M into many applications. With the addition of the Cortex-M55, Arm is offering its most AI-capable Cortex-M processor ever and the first based on the Armv8.1-M architecture with Arm Helium vector processing technology for enhanced, energy-efficient DSP and ML performance. Arm says that the Cortex-M55 delivers up to a 15x uplift in ML performance and a 5x uplift in DSP performance, with greater efficiency, compared to previous Cortex-M generations.
Additionally, Arm Custom Instructions will be available to extend processor capabilities for specific workload optimization, a new feature for Cortex-M processors.
For even more demanding ML systems, the Cortex-M55 can be paired with the Ethos-U55, Arm’s first microNPU, together delivering a combined 480x increase in ML performance over existing Cortex-M processors.
The Ethos-U55 is configurable and designed to accelerate ML inference in area-constrained embedded and IoT devices. Its compression techniques save power and reduce ML model sizesto enable execution of neural networks that previously only ran on larger systems.
Both the Cortex-M55 and Ethos-U55 are fully supported by Arm’s Cortex-M software toolchain. This ensures a unified development flow for traditional, DSP and ML workloads. In addition, specific integration and optimizations for machine learning frameworks, starting with TensorFlow Lite Micro, will ensure that developers can get the best performance from any Cortex-M and Ethos-U55 configuration.
To ensure the most secure designs and provide a route to PSA Certified products, these processors and the accompanying Corstone reference design work with Arm TrustZone to ensure security can be more easily incorporated into the complete system-on-chip.
Chips with the new technology will hit the market in 2021.