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ARM’s new edge AI chips promise IoT devices that won’t need the cloud

February 10, 2020 / Chaim Gartenberg

Edge AI is one of the biggest trends in chip technology. These are chips that run AI processing on the edge — or, in other words, on a device without a cloud connection. Apple recently bought a company that specializes in it, Google’s Coral initiative is meant to make it easier, and chipmaker ARM has already been working on it for years. Now, ARM is expanding its efforts in the field with two new chip designs: the Arm Cortex-M55 and the Ethos-U55, a neural processing unit meant to pair with the Cortex-M55 for more demanding use cases. The benefits of edge AI are clear: running AI processing on a device itself, instead of in a remote server, offers big benefits to privacy and speed when it comes to handling these requests. Like ARM’s other chips, the new designs won’t be manufactured by ARM; rather, they serve as blueprints for a wide variety of partners to use as a foundation for their own hardware.