i.MX 93 applications processor enhances security at the edge, says NXP

Believed to be the industry’s first implementation of the Arm Ethos-U65 microNPU, the i.MX 93 applications processors are the first in NXP’s i.MX 9 series.

The applications processors are designed for automotive, smart home, smart building and smart factory applications, which use edge machine learning to anticipate user needs. They combine the Arm Ethos-U65 microNPU with a high level of security and integration to deliver efficient, fast, secure machine learning at the edge, for example in voice-assisted smart home and building systems. They can also be used in low power industrial gateways and automotive driver monitoring systems. 

The i.MX 93 family has a heterogenous multi-core architecture, including up to two 1.7GHz Arm Cortex-A55 applications processors and a real-time Cortex-M33 microcontroller subsystem with access to all SoC peripherals, including the 256 MACs / cycles Arm Ethos-U65 microNPU. This architecture delivers power-efficient machine learning across a variety of applications, including compact, battery-powered IoT devices, says NXP. 

The i.MX 93 family supports a variety of industrial and automotive connectivity interface protocols, in addition to broad multi-media interfaces. This also reduces the need for external hardware components and additional design work, to reduce the time to market as well as overall systems costs. 

Ron Martino, executive vice president and general manager, ege processing for NXP Semiconductors, believes: “The highly integrated i.MX 93 applications processors will help open an entirely new range of use cases at the edge, where you need to have that close tie-in to the sensor data to make fast decisions. This will enable a new generation of secured, efficient, intelligent devices across IoT, industrial IoT and automotive applications.”

NXP’s EdgeLock secure enclave is a standard on-die feature across the i.MX 9 series. It is a pre-configured, self-managed and autonomous security subsystem. It is particularly useful for developers without deep security expertise.

“We’re making it easier for developers to create, connect, and maintain innovative IoT devices by providing a comprehensive platform actively supported by the scale and expertise of Microsoft software, cloud and security experts,” said Halina McMaster, partner group program manager, Microsoft Azure Sphere. “Together with NXP, we are delivering a variety of Microsoft Azure Sphere-certified edge processors that provide a secured environment for customer applications, critical over-the-air update infrastructure, and more than 10 years of ongoing security improvements for every Azure Sphere chip,” she said. 

i.MX 93-CS processors with Azure Sphere are built with Microsoft Pluton enabled on the EdgeLock secure enclave. Pluton on EdgeLock secure enclave is the dependable hardware root of trust which is built into the silicon and enables the Azure Sphere security stack.

Machine learning application development on the i.MX 93 family will be enabled by the eIQ software development environment, including the eIQ Toolkit workflow tools, the GUI-based eIQ Portal development environment and eIQ inference engine options that will include the Arm Ethos-U65 microNPU as an inference target. 

The i.MX 93 applications processors implement NXP’s innovative Energy Flex architecture, enabling developers to optimize energy usage for each operating mode to create portable devices with longer battery life. 


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