Team of experienced semiconductor executives, backed by leading sensor and equipment manufacturers, aims to equip the next generation of handsets, IoT devices, wearables, and vehicles with a new approach to AI processing at the edge
AIStorm, an innovator of high-performance AI-in-sensor processors, has closed $13.2 million in Series A financing from Egis Technology Inc., a major biometrics supplier to handsets, gaming, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS); TowerJazz, the global specialty foundry leader that specializes in image sensors for commercial, industrial, AR, and medical markets; Meyer Corporation, a world leader in food preparation equipment; and Linear Dimensions Semiconductor Inc., a leader in biometric authentication and digital health products.
“This investment will help us accelerate our engineering & go-to-market efforts to bring a new type of machine learning to the edge. AIStorm’s revolutionary approach allows implementation of edge solutions in lower-cost analog technologies. The result is a cost savings of five to ten times compared to GPUs — without any compromise in performance,” said David Schie, CEO of AIStorm.
Using sensor data directly—without digitization—enables real-time processing at the edge
The semiconductor industry is striving to process sensor information at the edge to reduce the cost and security risk associated with transmitting large amounts of raw data from edge sensors. AI systems require information be available in digital form before they can process data, but sensor data is analog. Processing this digital information requires advanced and costly GPUs that are not suitable for mobile devices: they require continuous digitization of input data, which consumes significant power and introduces unavoidable digitization delay (latency). AIStorm aims to solve these problems by processing sensor data directly in its native analog form, in real time.
“The reaction time saved by AIStorm’s approach can mean the difference between an advanced driver-assistance system detecting an object and safely stopping versus a lethal collision,” said Russell Ellwanger, CEO of TowerJazz.
“Edge applications must process huge amounts of data generated by sensors. Digitizing that data takes time, which means that these applications don’t have time to intelligently select data from the sensor data stream, and instead have to collect volumes of data and process it later. For the first time, AIStorm’s approach allows us to intelligently prune data from the sensor stream in real time and keep up with the massive sensor input tasks,” said Todd Lin, COO of Egis Technology Inc.
“It makes sense to combine the AI processing with the imager and skip the costly digitization process. For our customers, this will open up new possibilities in smart, event-driven operation and high-speed processing at the edge,” said Dr. Avi Strum, SVP/GM of the sensors business unit of TowerJazz.
AIStorm’s management includes CEO David Schie, a former senior executive at Maxim, Micrel and Semtech; CFO Robert Barker, formerly with Micrel and WSI; Andreas Sibrai, formerly with Maxim and Toshiba; and Cesar Matias, founder of ARM’s Budapest design center.