Processing on the edge with single-chip FPGA-based solutions -

Processing on the edge with single-chip FPGA-based solutions


I've just been exposed to a whole bunch of terms I've never heard before — things like “Intelligent City Luminaries” and “Non-Conventional Surveillance (NCS).”

It seems that Altera has partnered with a company called Eutecus to develop multi-channel high-definition (HD) video analytics platforms called the ReCo-Duo and the ReCo-Pro. Both of these platforms employ Eutecus' MVE video and fusion analytics technology; the ReCo-Duo is powered by a Cyclone IV FPGA, while the ReCo-Pro model is powered by a Cyclone V FPGA SoC.

A ReCo-Pro powered by a Cyclone V FPGA SoC.

A ReCo-Pro powered by a Cyclone V FPGA SoC.

It turns out that cities around the world are upgrading various aspects of their infrastructures, such as their street lighting systems. No longer do we see the yellow-orange sodium glow of my youth; the name of the game these days is to use high-brightness, low-power, long-life LED-based luminaries.

The point is that a large portion of the cost involved in upgrading these streetlights is the physical act of people actually doing the work. So, while they are up there anyway, why not augment the lights with sophisticated embedded vision and fusion analytics capabilities that can be used for a wide variety of purposes, such as monitoring traffic flow, detecting and reporting accidents, and suchlike.

One key point here is that these systems don't blindly transmit humongous quantities of raw video data around the Internet universe. That's where the “fusion analytics” part comes in. The idea is to perform “processing on the edge” — to analyze the video stream, detect things happening as they happen, and to only transmit useful information like “Send help — a car just crashed at these GPS coordinates.” And when it comes to performing mind-boggling quantities of parallel processing in real-time, nothing can out-perform an FPGA.

This explains why Sensity Systems is planning on using these platforms in portions of its high-speed, Light Sensory Network (LSN), which is currently being installed in several US metropolitan areas.

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