Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now being used in an ever-growing range of applications, already considered as a key enabling technology for electronic component and systems, representing a potential major business disrupter. It is already put in many applications and bring tangible solutions in many societal challenges.
Europe is at the forefront of the Electronic Components and Systems (ECS) at the edge market and related technologies (FD-SOI, eNVM, Imagers, Mems, Sensors, …). There are big players (pro-riders’ surfers of the illustration, on the right side) in Europe selling Microcontrollers, Sensors, Communication devices, several tens of billion units per year! Numerous European SMEs and start-ups demonstrated innovative systems based on these components. Clearly, Europe is trusting top ranking positions for ECS at the edge definition, development, production and application.
The next step is ECS at the edge with AI enablement. StorAIge will increase AI technology maturity and capitalize on ‘the ones’ who already have competences and insights to push one step up the full European eco-system and stay on/trust podiums!
AI is linked to new and/or ‘smarter’ functions and usages, new technology developments are driven by the application requirements. Even if AI is already put in many systems bringing tangible solutions in many societal challenges, many applications has not been yet tested, demonstrated and even identified.
AI, a huge market
According to the Global Market Insights report, the European market will grow 33% between 2020 and 2026 driven by the autonomous vehicle industry. Furthermore, the move from Cloud to Edge will accelerate, as the study anticipates big market opportunity for AI edge processing across several market categories including automotive, industrial and consumer. The edge compute market for AI chips is set to grow faster than cloud in North America over the next 6 years.
The implementation of Artificial intelligence solutions is a reality in many applications in today’s society and crept into our cars, telephones, computers, transportation systems. More specifically, AI has been adopted for a wide range of devices including medical diagnosis, electronic trading platforms, robot control, equipment control,…. In our tech-driven world, many AI technologies are readily welcomed into our lives. There is a rush to keep up with the latest smartphones, apps, home assistance devices, … AI main domains of applications are huge: Transport/Mobility, Healthcare, Industry, Environment, Commerce, Finance, Defence, Personal Assistant, …
By putting together key players of the AI value chain, storAIge will help to predict and define what tasks AI will be applied to tomorrow at the edge devices with a special focus on Automotive, Industrial/Consumer and secure applications, providing the best-in-class silicon-based solutions.
Aim of the project and specific objectives
The main aim of the StorAIge project is to setup a world-class manufacturing platform for silicon with Artificial Intelligence capabilities, prototyping high performance, FD-SOI low power and secured & safety components enabling competitive AI at the edge applications.
The main challenge addressed by the project is on one hand to handle the complexity of sub-28nm ‘more than moore’ technologies and to bring them up at a high maturity level and on the other hand to handle the design of complex SoCs for more intelligent, secure, flexible, low power consumption and cost effective. The project is targeting chipset and solutions with very efficient memories and high computing power targeting 10 Tops per Watt.
Moving AI from the cloud to the edge will orient the StorAIge technological developments towards 3 interdependent challenges:
- Increase the computing power (high performance),
- Lower the energy consumption (energy-efficient),
- Implement adequate security & privacy level.
StorAIge project will put together experts to share insights, concepts, ideas, experiments, studies, to develop ‘appropriate’ and standard-grade AI solutions.
Three main applications areas will be targeted and demonstrated within the scope of this project:
StorAIge expected impacts
Today, much of the AI processing happens in cloud: sensor data is collected from the Edge but processed and analysed in cloud. However, the requirements of many AI applications are incompatible with this strategy. These requirements are fast response time, low energy, security, and privacy in which processing on cloud acts as an impediment. Further, the long-term cost of storage and processing in cloud is economically unscalable. However, with the exponentially increasing complexity of AI, realizing AI processing at edge, where the form factor and battery capacity are often a limitation, is a severe challenge.
The expected impact of storAIge at the broadest level would be to increase the competence and competitiveness of European actors: the universities, research organizations and industry in the domain of edge AI hardware. This in turn is vital to maintain Europe’s sovereignty and its technological independence in this vital enabling technology.
Demonstrations of StorAIge
The storAIge project will bring results from design, technology and materials till applications. State-of-the-art improvements will be demonstrated all along the value chain. The silicon-borne components developed in the project will allow large volume application deployment and demonstrations will be done during the timeframe of the project. And particularly, the mass market MCU product family will be enlarged to enable new era of autonomous edge devices.
The expected outcome of the project will represent 83 demonstrations. They cover the full value chain of materials, silicon process, methods and technics, IP blocks to end up with use cases through devices and products that address main applications in Automotive, Industrial/Consumer and Secure. This large number of demonstrations are well connected and aim to build an ecosystem of technology expertise in AI that will represent an asset to demonstrate innovative devices and products not only within the time frame of this project but also for many years to come.
Demonstrations on material, silicon process, methods and techniques will directly enable to design and manufacture advanced IP blocks (e-memory, secure HW and SW, RF,…) which in turn will enable AI systems and applications that are illustrated by use cases. Thus, some of the demonstrations will yield products or demonstrators.
StorAIge use cases
Fifteen use cases will be addressed to illustrate the 9 applications foreseen within the project.
StorAIge has received funding up to 24.9 M€ from the ECSEL Joint Undertaking (JU) under Grant Agreement N°101007321. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme in France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey.
The 3-years project will run from the 1st of July 2021 until the 30th of June 2024