Qualcomm Announces the Edge AI RB3 Gen 2 Chip for IoT and Robotics and a "Micro-Power" Wi-Fi SoC

Development kits aim to offer a quick-start for the company's on-device AI-accelerating robotics and IoT chip.

Qualcomm has announced a new system-on-chip designed for Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics projects, the RB3 Gen 2, along with a "micro-power Wi-Fi system" targeting embedded applications with the promise of a reduction in power draw of up to 88 percent.

"Complementing high-performance, low-latency wireless connectivity solutions, [the] Qualcomm QCC730 SoC [System-on-Chip] is an industry-leading micro-powered Wi-Fi solution enabling Wi-Fi for the world of battery powered IoT platforms," claims Qualcomm's Rahul Patel of the company's latest launch. "QCC730 enables devices to support TCP/IP networking capabilities while remaining form-factor and complete wireless constrained, whilst remaining connected to the cloud platforms."

Supporting dual band Wi-Fi connectivity, the Qualcomm QCC730 is claimed to deliver an 88 percent power saving over the company's previous-generation equivalent parts, according to Qualcomm's internal testing. The part launches with an open-source integrated development environment (IDE) and software development kit (SDK) with cloud offload capabilities, which the company says will ease development β€” and it claims that the part's flexibility and power efficiency means it could be used as a "high-performance alternative to Bluetooth IoT applications."

The Qualcomm RB3 Gen 2, meanwhile, builds on the company's QCS6490 processor to deliver high performance computing for the Internet of Things, embedded, and robotics workloads. The chip includes a Kryo 670 CPU complex with one high-performance arm Cortex-A78 Kryo Gold Plus core running at up to 2.7GHz, three Cortex-A78 Kryo Gold cores running at up to 2.4GHz, and and four low-power Cortex-A55 Kryo Silver cores running at up to 1.9GHz, a sixth-generation Qualcomm AI Engine with Hexagon 770 tensor and scalar accelerators and vector processing extensions delivering up to 12 tera-operations per second (TOPS) of compute, an Adreno 643L graphics processor, and an Adreno 633 vision processing unit.

The chip also includes tri-band Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity with Bluetooth Low Energy Audio support, Near Field Communication (NFC) support, a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver, five camera inputs running through a Spectra image processor, support for up to two displays running at 1080p144 on-device or 4k60 external, and with support for LPDDR5 or LPDDR4X memory. It will also, Qualcomm says, be in the company's longevity program β€” which promises 15 years of availability.

More information on the RB3 Gen 2 is available on the Qualcomm website, along with two development boards built in partnership with Thundercomm β€” available to pre-order at $399 for the base Core Kit and $599 for the Vision Kit, which includes both high- and low-resolution camera sensors. The company will also be showing both off at Embedded World in Nuremberg this week, at Hall 5 Booth #5-161.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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