MicroZed Chronicles: First Look at Xilinx Kria SoMs
I am a big fan of the system-on-module concept, this blog even inherited its name from the first SoM I started writing about back in 2013, the MicroZed. Used correctly SoMs can really help reduce design risk and accelerate development as the SoM is available from day one. This makes the Xilinx news from today even more exciting. Earlier today, Xilinx introduced their own portfolio of production ready SoMs called Kria. Available for order is the Kria K26 SoM, targeted for Vision AI applications, and the Kria KV260 Vision AI Starter Kit, good for evaluation.
Features, Performance and Pricing
A quick look at the K26 SoM features shows that physically the SoM is 77 mm by 60 mm with a height of 11 mm. The K26 breaks out the 245 IO on dual 240 pin connectors. Using this IO system designers can implement a range of high-performance interfaces from camera interfaces (using MIPI / SLVD/SLVS etc.) to high performance networking from 1 to 40 Gb while supportingUSB2 and USB3 interfaces. What I found interesting is that the Kria SoM is based on a Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC however, like the devices in the Alveo cards it is a bespoke device available only on the SoM. The device offers, Quad Cortex A53, 256K logic cells and H.264.265 supporting this 4 GB of 64 Bit DDR4 memory.
Performance wise, Xilinx states the implementation of a video pipeline with machine learning detection running from a 1080p camera at 30 FPS is able to achieve 33 frame/seconds with 5 Watts dissipation.
The Kria K26 SoM is available in both commercial (0C to 85C) and industrial grade (-40 to 100C) for $250 and $350 USD, respectively.
Next in the lineup is the KV260 Vision AI Starter Kit, priced competitively at $199 USD. The kit includes an evaluation and development-ready SoM and carrier card, which supports:
3 MIPI Interfaces – Two ISP and one RPI
1 Gb ethernet
The Kria portfolio roadmap also shows a cost-optimised SoM for electric drives and a high-performance AI compute SoM for edge applications. Very excited for those.
Made with the Software Developer in Mind
One of the things that struck me while getting a sneak peak from Xilinx last week, was that the starter kit was designed for most people to get started in less than 1 hour and run vision/AI applications. While developers can and will create Vivado designs, especially for production applications with custom carrier cards containing bespoke sensors and cameras, the Kria K26 is aimed very much at software and AI developers with Xilinx assuming the main design entry point for the SoM / development kit is at a higher level of abstraction and utilises Vitis and its range of acceleration libraries and Vitis AI with its support for TensorFlow, Pytorch and Caffe neural networks.
Embedded App Store
To support developers Xilinx is launching the first Embedded App store for edge applications, which will include a range of applications ready for the developer to access on day one. This embedded app store is intended to provide a swap in and out functionality for developers to experiment with different algorithms as part of their application development process.
Interview with Xilinx
I was able to chat with Karan Kantharia of Xilinx about Kria this morning. Watch my interview with him to learn more about the announcement straight from the manufacturer.
Summary: My Thoughts on Kria
My thoughts on the Kria SoM portfolio is that it is an exciting and promising development from Xilinx. I am big proponent of SoM based development due to its risk reduction and enabling you to hit the ground and start developing fast as I said in my introduction.
The Kria SoM takes the risk reduction concept further with the provision of the Edge App store and the focus on higher levels of abstraction. This I see as being especially important to bring in a wider audience of users to programmable logic.
Of course, the Kria SoM further demonstrates the path we have been on for many years now as we move to design capture at increasing levels of abstraction to be able to achieve the required algorithms and applications in a reasonable time frame.
The cost is competitive, especially when you consider the design of a MPSoC and associated DDR Memory etc. can be challenging and require many man hours of component selection, schematic design and review, PCB layout and review along with Signal and Power Integrity analysis.
My starter kit is already on its way and I’ve got loads of tutorials and project ideas queued up. Stay tuned for more on Kria this year.