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Meet the new GPUs for 4K video that are coming to drones, robots, VR and self-driving cars

by on January 9, 2016
 

Stephan Jukic – January 09, 2016

New GPUs from companies like Ambarella, Qualcomm and Imagination are going to make 4K resolution compatibility in electronics a standard feature of the video display and capture landscape of the near future, and by near future we mean 2016 and beyond.

4K UHD video adoption is exploding across the board and numerous new technologies which either display video or record it are going to require the kinds of chipsets that make 4K ultra HD an easy resolution to process. This is where chip companies which recently presented themselves at CES are going to start showing off their 4K video playback and capture chops on a wide scale. This means boosted support for 4K video resolution, entirely new chipset architectures and even the addition of artificial intelligence for the sake of processing, classifying and identifying images more quickly.

One notable example which comes to mind is graphics company Imagination Technologies, whose new PowerVR Series7XT graphics architecture is capable of recognizing objects in 4K imagery. Imagination is targeting its technology not only at smartphones and tablets but also for virtual reality headsets, robots, drones and even smart cars.

The company’s new GT7200 and GT7400 Plus GPU systems have specific vision instructions ofr object recognition in 4K video sequences. This could have applications for things like self-driving cars with much better collision avoidance algorithms, augmented by 4K images and the Imagination GPUs. Additional applications of these object recognition-in-4K-video GPUs could be their use for security surveillance, in which a particular suspect is more easily recognized from a piece of 4K security video.

Then there’s the case of Ambralla, which has announced two new H2 and H12 low-power chips for small 4K UHD cameras like those in drones and action cameras. In addition to these, Ambralla is developing ARM Cortex CPUs for flight operations and wireless data transmission. The new H2 and H12 chips in particular come with image stabilization and HDR high dynamic range technology for sharper, crisper and clearer images in 4K video. Furthermore, the chips offer support for H.265 (HEVC) 4K ultra HD video compression.

GPU power is growing massively and gearing up for 4K video uses

GPU power is growing massively and gearing up for 4K video uses

Next up, we have Qualcomm with its latest Snapdragon 820A and 820AM processing chipsets, which come with a powerful Adreno 530 GPU. Like Imagination’s chips described above, the 820 series of chips can recognize and analyze objects from 4K video in self-driving cars, drones and other machines for better pattern and problem recognition and management. Furthermore, Qualcomm’s powerful 4K-ready chipset can be used in the latest generations of smartphones, which are expected to hit the market with more powerful 4K UHD cameras and 4K display as wel in the next couple of years.

Finally, we come down to 4K and UHD gaming GPU titan Nvidia, whose newest Pascal GPU powers te Drive PX 2 computer in self-driving cars. This extremely compact supercomputer could fit inside a microwave oven while providing the processing equivalent of roughly 150 MacBook Pro devices, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. In the case of the Pascual GPU, the 4K video recognition and processing applications are also extremely diverse, principally aimed at the next generations of self-driving cars and their capacities for navigating via 4K ultra HD video through traffic, parking lots and other difficult and visually complex landscapes.

Story by 4k.com

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