Intel introduced the latest generation of its Atom processors for Internet of Things (IoT) applications today (25 October 2016) at IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in the shape of the E3900 and A3900 series, which provide 70% more computing performance over the previous E3800 product family, as well as adding in more mobile edge (or fog) computing capabilities.
The new Intel Atom processor E3900 series has been designed from the ground up to support the rapid development and the growing complexity of IoT businesses, while the A3900 Series is designed to power a new generation of in-vehicle experiences.
The A3900 automotive series will enable a complete software defined cockpit solution that incudes in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), digital instrument clusters and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – all in a single, compact and cost-effective SoC.
The A3900 series will allow car makers to offer new levels of determinism for real-time decision-making required in next-generation cars. It is currently sampling with customers and will be available in Q1 2017.
At a pre-launch press briefing in London on 17 October 2016, Jonathan Luse, General Manager, IoT Planning and Product Line Management, Intel, described the A3900 as step on the road to full autonomous vehicles.
‘The A3900 moves us from just providing in-vehicle infotainment towards the software defined cockpit. It opens up new architectures for car manufacturers,’ said Luse, who went on to explain that it would enable more mission critical applications involving dashboards, Lidar, emergency breaking and in-cockpit driver assistance, such as drowsiness detectors.
Explaining the drivers behind the E3900 series, Intel noted that IoT is linking billions of smart and connected devices to each other, creating a wave of change in how we live and work. The number of connected machines is expected to dramatically increase – by 2020, 50 billion devices (Cisco IBSG) will create 44 zettabytes (of 44 trillion gigabytes) of data annually, and will require much more processing power at the edge, and in the fog to network in order to maintain viability.
The E3900 is designed to meet these challenges in particular the needs automotive, industrial and video applications. Inside its compact form factor, customers can achieve new levels of security, determinism, and image and video processing power. This will help fuel innovative IoT applications across industrial, video, manufacturing, retail and more.
Faster, stronger, better processing and sensor integration at the edge
The Intel Atom processor E3900 series will make the edge and fog more intelligent – enabling many of the processing needs to take place at or near the data sensor and alleviating the need to push all processing to the data centre.
Fog computing, also known as fog networking, is a decentralised computing infrastructure in which computing resources and application services are distributed in the most logical place at any point from the data source to the cloud.
As an example, Intel cited traffic cams and sensor data, noting that there are significant downsides to sending data to a server for analysis, such as loss due to video compression and time spent in travel, versus having the ability to process data at the device.
In the automotive industry, the software-defined cockpit is also where this edge computing capability can make a difference. The ability for a single system to drive the digital gauges, navigation, and advance driver assist functions is the trend.
It is important that backup sensors, bird’s-eye view parking or side collision alter function in a reliable response time, regardless of what the media or navigation system is doing at that time.
With more than 1.7 times more computing power over the previous generation1, the E3900 Series is designed to enable faster memory speeds and memory bandwidth to provide the efficient processing capability needed for edge to cloud network computing.
Built into a compact flip chip ball grid array (FCBGA) and featuring 14 nanometer silicon technology, the Intel Atom processor E3900 series is suitable for a wide range of IoT applications, where scalable performance, space and power are at a premium. Additional new features and capabilities include:
Pristine graphics for media-rich applications: The processor series features Intel’s ninth-generation graphics engine that improves 3-D graphics performance by 2.9 times over the previous generation, and supports as many as three independent displays.
Advanced image processing to support all types of vision system needs: The E3900 series has four vector image processing units, resulting in better visibility, quality video in low light, noise reduction, and colour and detail preservation.
Faster connections to keep devices in sync: Intel Time Coordinated Computing Technology coordinates and synchronizes peripherals and networks of connected devices. By synchronizing clocks inside the system on a chip (SoC) and across the network, Intel Time Coordinated Computing Technology can achieve network accuracy to within a microsecond.
Intel believes the Atom processor E3900 series provides a significant step toward building a more robust IoT ecosystem. The company reports the series’ early access programme ‘has generated tremendous excitement among our customers and partners, putting the product on track to be one of Intel’s most successful IoT processors’.
Intel said it is working with a diverse ecosystem of leading IoT device and equipment manufacturers, software vendors and OEMs, including Delphi, FAW, Neusoft, Hikvision and others across a variety of industries.