Asked if Ambarella's computer-vision chip could replace a lidar, Broggi said that, although this is possible, it's not necessarily the company's intention.
The secret of Ambarella’s CV1 is its ability to bring in so much more information to computer vision, because CV1 supports computer-vision processing up to 4K or 8-megapixel resolution.
While the VisLab team brings advancements in deep learning to the CVflow architecture, Ambarella applies years of expertise in low-power HD and Ultra HD image processing to the CVflow.
Broggi told us, "There couldn’t have been a better union than VisLab and Ambarella." There is no overlap between what each team does. More important, CVflow exploits Ambarella’s image signaling pipelines for high-dynamic range (HDR) imaging, Ultra HD processing and automatic calibration in a stereo camera.
While not many companies talk about it, Broggi said stereo cameras need to be very stable. Calibration in stereo cameras can be a challenge, he said, especially in automotive applications, because cars vibrate and operate in a wide range of temperatures. With Ambarella’s new CV1 chip, "We do real-time auto calibration on the fly on the chip," he said.
There is no need for infrared cameras to process images in low light, either, he added. Asked about Foresight’s new quad-cam unit designed to fuse data coming from infrared (night vision) and day cameras, Broggi said, "We don’t need that. Our HDR can process images in very low-light conditions."
But the clincher is that the CVflow architecture is fully-programmable and highly-efficient, providing significant computer vision performance with very low power consumption. CV1 runs at 4 watts, according to Broggi.
"You don’t need a powerful GPU to do all these things like CNN-based classification and stereovision processing for detecting generic objects without training," Broggi said. "We are doing all of it just on CV1."
The CV1 by itself is a very high-performance computer. Inside are Ambarella’s home-grown "engine" to power CNN and DNN, image DSP, two quad-core ARM Cortex-A53, and other accelerators, Broggi explained.
Asked about the price for CV1, Chris Day, vice president of marketing and business development at Ambarella, told us, "A lot cheaper than a GPU…below $50."
Ambarella already got its chip — fabricated by using a 14nm CMOS process technology — back from the foundry last May. The company is currently engaging with a number of customers in the automotive market, Day added.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times