The New BeagleBone AI

Apart from the PocketBeagle, most of the new boards released recently based on the BeagleBone architecture have been built by third…

Alasdair Allan
10 months ago

Apart from the PocketBeagle, most of the new boards released recently based on the BeagleBone architecture have been built by third parties, exploiting the platform’s main advantage over the Pi, the open hardware design.

However that has just changed with a new board from the BeagleBoard.org Foundation, the BeagleBone AI, unveiled at Embedded World, which opened today in Nuremberg, Germany.

The board shares the familiar BeagleBone form factor, and has compatible headers. But, unlike previous models, it is built around the Texas Instruments AM5729, a dual-core Arm 32-bit Cortex-A15 processor running at 1.5GHz.

The BeagleBone AI also has an additional two dual-core Arm Cortex-M4 co-processors for real-time control, and features two dual-core Programmable Real-Time Unit (PRU) subsystems and four Embedded Vision Engines (EVEs), as well as an additional dual-core PowerVE SGX544 3D GPU and a Vivante GC320 2D graphics accelerator.

The board even features a USB-C and a USB-A connectors, as well as Gigabit Ethernet, onboard 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi support, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of on-board eMMC Flash. There are also 4×UARTs, 2×I2C ports, and 2×SPI ports.

“Built on the proven BeagleBoard.org open source Linux approach, BeagleBone AI fills the gap between small SBCs and more powerful industrial computers. Based on the Texas Instruments AM5729, developers have access to the powerful SoC with the ease of BeagleBone Black header and mechanical compatibility. BeagleBone AI makes it easy to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in everyday life via the TI C66x digital-signal-processor (DSP) cores and embedded-vision-engine (EVE) cores supported through an optimized TIDL machine learning OpenCL API with pre-installed tools. Focused on everyday automation in industrial, commercial and home applications.”

The new board is on display at Embedded World, but according to Jason Kridner, co-founder and board member at the Foundation, “…it is a sneak preview, not launch. We are seeding our alpha community with our pilot run.

The BeagleBone AI isn’t due for release until “…roughly mid to late Q2” and will be priced “…in the $100 neighbourhood.” But if you’re at Embedded World this week it’s on display at the BeagleBoard.org booth, that’s stand number 3A-121 in Hall 3, until the end of the week.

UPDATE: Interesting update from Jason Kridner on the some behind the scenes news on the hardware and software support for the BeagleBone AI.

There’s also some more images of the new board taken on the exhibition floor of Embedded World by Drew Fustini, hardware designer at OSHPark and a board member BeagleBoard.org Foundation.

Alasdair Allan
Scientist, author, hacker, maker, and journalist. Building, breaking, and writing. For hire. You can reach me at 📫 alasdair@babilim.co.uk.
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