Monster BeagleBone AI crams computer-vision engine onto Raspberry Pi-style board

BeagleBoard AI offers developers a single-board computer that's customized for artificial-intelligence applications.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Non-profit corporation BeagleBoard.org has announced the BeagleBone AI, a high-end board for developers building artificial-intelligence and computer-vision applications. 

The foundation teased the new BeagleBone AI in a brief announcement detailing its main AI features, which include a Texas Instruments (TI) AM5729 system on chip (SoC), TI C66x digital-signal-processor (DSP) cores and embedded-vision-engine (EVE) cores.

The board has the same form-factor as the popular and cheap BeagleBone Black but with much higher specifications. 

The BeagleBone AI "fills the gap between small SBCs and more powerful industrial computers", which can help automate industrial, commercial and home applications, according to the foundation. 

The AI-ready board comes with 1GB RAM and 16GB on-board eMMC flash with a high-speed interface, a USB Type-C port for power and a dual-role controller, and a USB Type-A host. There's also Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi. 

With preinstalled software, the BeagleBone AI also saves buyers from having to download equipment to get the device up and running. 

SEE: How to implement AI and machine learning (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

There's no page yet for the BeagleBone AI and no pricing details either, but as ZDNet sister site TechRepublic notes, the similarly specced BeagleBoard X15 sells for about €240 or $300.

The TI AM5729 SoC consists of a dual-core Arm Cortex A15-based CPU and a dual-core Arm Cortex M4 CPUs that acts as an image-processing unit. On the graphics front, the GPU is a dual-core PowerVR SGX544 3D unit, and there's also a Vivante GC320 Core 2D accelerator.   

According to TechRepublic, the TI Embedded Vision Engine (EVE) chips offer up to eight times the performance per watt when running calculations for computer-vision models compared with running on an Arm Cortex A15-based CPU. 

This optimized hardware is accessible to developers via the TI Deep Learning OpenCL (Open Computing Language) API.


The BeagleBone AI has the same form-factor as the popular and cheap BeagleBone Black but with much higher specifications. 


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