© Pixabay Electronics Production | February 12, 2019
AIStorm snags USD 13.2 million in quest to advance edge processing
San Jose-based AI start-up AIStorm has secured USD 13.2 million in Series A financing from leading sensor and equipment manufacturers.
Investors include Egis Technology Inc., a biometrics supplier to handsets, gaming, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS); TowerJazz, specializing in image sensors for commercial, industrial, AR, and medical markets; Meyer Corporation, a manufacturer of food preparation equipment; and Linear Dimensions Semiconductor Inc., a leader in biometric authentication and digital health products. AIStorm aims to equip the next generation of handsets, IoT devices, wearables, and vehicles with an approach to AI processing at the edge that boosts performance while lowering power requirements and system cost. One goal of the semiconductor industry is the ability to process sensor information closer to 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 and requires continuous digitization of input data. This, in turn, consumes significant power and introduces unavoidable digitization delay (latency). The recent investment will enable the company to work toward solutions that include processing sensor data directly in its native analog form, in real time. TowerJazz CEO Russell Ellwanger said, “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.” Egis Technology COO Todd Lin said, “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.” AIStorm was founded in 2018. The management team 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.