AMD announced that its Versal AI Core XQRVC1902 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) has been certified for applications in commercial satellites. The SoC received a Class B rating.

The Class B rating indicates that the Versal SoC is safe and effective for satellite deployments. The US Department of Defense determined that the chipset provides the performance, quality and reliability required to operate in extraterrestrial conditions.

AMD Versal SoC

The SoC should allow satellites to process data and support AI calculations at high speeds. The SoC features several capabilities that were previously exclusive to purpose-built application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

The SoC is promising due to its re-programmability. The chipset can be tweaked to handle different workloads at a moment’s notice. Satellite operators can adjust processing algorithms when needed. This keeps remote communications and sensors in top condition.

The SoC is expected to replace ASICs, which feature built-in algorithms that are difficult to modify after a chip’s deployment. The latter is a major downside for satellite operators, who need to be able to remotely tweak equipment.

Technology from Xilinx

The model’s technology stems from Xilinx, a company acquired by AMD. The QR Versal AI Core XQRVC1902 has two built-in processors, a dual-core Arm Cortex A72 and a dual-core Arm Cortex R5. In addition, the SoC features more than 400 AI compute engines, 900,000 logic cells and 191 million bits of memory.

The AMD Versal SoC is due to hit the market early next year. US satellite manufacturer Raytheon reportedly plans to use the SoC as the basis for processors in future satellites and other space vehicles.

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