China startup releases AI processors then raises $100 million

April 04, 2018 //By Peter Clarke
China startup releases AI processors then raises $100 million
Horizon Robotics Ltd. (Beijing, China), a startup founded in 2015, has released two artificial intelligence processors and raised about $100 million in a funding round with help from Intel Capital.

Horizon is a spin off from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, that is expected to create artificial intelligence products and platforms at the chip, board and system-level aimed at smart driving, smart cities and smart buildings.

The company describes itself as providing a "full-stack solution" including algorithm framework design, compiler and runtime library for the processors, hardware and chip design and deployment together with large-scale training and simulation platform

The first two artificial intelligence processors are the 'Journey 1.0' for smart driving and the 'Sunrise 1.0' processor for smart cameras. In an automobile application, the two chips work together with one chip processing sensory inputs while the second uses that information to control a vehicle.

The Sunrise 1.0 is based on Horizon's first generation of brain processing unit (BPU) architecture and can process 1080p@30fps in real time and can detect, track, and identify 200 targets simultaneously in each frame. The typical power consumption is 500mW, and the delay per frame is less than 30ms, Horizon states. It is based on what it calls a Gaussian architecture and implemented in 40nm silicon.  Horizon also shows Bernoulli and Bayesian architecture chips designed for implementation in 28nm and 16nm silicon.

Horizon also claims that ADAS based on the Journey 1.0 has detection accuracy of more than 99 percent for vehicles, pedestrians, lane lines and traffic signs. Although it should be noted that more than 99 percent is not enough if it allows a significant object, such as a bicyclist, to go unseen.

The Sunrise 1.0 can also be used for face recognition and related attribute analysis so could find application in security for schools, businesses and buildings, Horizon states. The Sunrise 1.0 has been demonstrated to identify Horizon chip chip architect Zhou Feng in a crowd of hundreds of people in a complex lighting environment.

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