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Date: 31-05-22

Low power ARM Cortex A7 MPU for AI image and audio/speech processing

IDM chipmaker Microchip announced the availability of ARM Cortex A7 based new Micro Processor Unit (MPU) having artificial intelligency capabilities to handle image processing and audio processing. This processor can be used in embedded computer boards replacing power consuming multicore processors. New 1 GHz SAMA7G54 feature MIPI CSI-2 camera interface and a traditional parallel camera interface.  This combined on-chip camera-interface feature is not found in any of the MPUs launched recently in the market. Using this Linux supported processor, building an embedded computer board for AI machine vision and audio processing can be limited within a budget of US$100.

Microchip suggests this processor can be used to design low-power stereo vision applications with more accurate depth perception. The release also highlights the audio capabilities in this processor, where it integrates features such as I2S digital audio ports, an 8-microphone array interface, an S/PDIF transmitter and receiver,  and four stereo channel audio sample rate converter. These audio specific features, make this processor a good candidate to evaluate for use in smart speaker, video conferencing applications.

Security features supported by this chip include Arm TrustZone technology with secure boot, secure key storage and cryptography.
Other specifications of the chip include, 256KB L2 cache, up to 533MHz DDR3L DRAM memory interface, Quad SPI, Octal SPI, Up to 12x FLEXCOMs, Dual Ethernet MAC, Three HS USB PHY, 6x CAN-FD, 3x SD/Emmc, 3 SDIO/SD-CARD/Emmc, 72 DMA channels,  
NAND interface, and 16 analog to digital converter channels.

Packaged in a TFBGA343 14mm x 14mm, 0.65 mm pitch, SAMA7G54 operates in the temperature range of -40 -105°C. This MPU  is in production. The evaluation kit is available and is priced at US$ 330.

SAMA7G54 microprocessor unit does not feature LCD graphic interface.

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