AI Inference at the Rugged Edge:

Meeting Edge AI Performance with M.2 Accelerators

Groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning innovation is bringing a new reality to automation and data intensive workloads. Applications are slowly moving away from the comfortable data center and into industrial and non-traditional settings where the surroundings are not so friendly. This is the rugged edge, and it is here that performance acceleration meets its match.

Preview the M.2 Accelerator Whitepaper


Data drives business innovation. It is the driving force behind the advancements that are made possible today. Data is everywhere, powers many applications, and provides people with value to deliver new services and make better decisions. And it is no exception in the industrial environment, where a large amount of data is captured, processed, and analyzed in real time. As automation grows, we are seeing the shift away from the cloud.

Key Takeaways:
  • Advancements in IoT devices, artificial intelligence, and edge computing have created a wide range of Edge AI deployments around the world that utilize AI in edge applications.
  • The growth of Edge AI is generating a large demand for innovation in computing hardware to meet growing data workloads.
  • M.2 Domain Specific Architectures, are unique hardware accelerators designed for specific workloads to help deliver the performance needed at the edge
  • Benchmarks featuring HAILO-8™ DSA processors

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Why Download The Whitepaper?

Challenge: An Edge AI Bottleneck

Today, many areas of business are benefiting from the adoption of Edge AI. Edge AI is helping solve real world problems for many end users in a wide range of applications and industries. However, maximizing performance at the rugged edge is tricky and demanding. Harsh conditions restrict power efficiency, limit resources, and create a wall for traditional compute solutions to process data heavy workloads. As edge AI and the number of IoT and IIoT devices increase, the demand for purpose-built hardware that can optimize edge AI performance becomes critical.


Moore's Law is slowing, but the ability to maintain low power and energy efficiency does not. Power budgets, and mechanical and thermal performance face limits at the edge. A new demand for specialized hardware acceleration is looking to help alleviate the power restrictions seen at the edge. This paper explores the benefits of domain specific architectures, specifically ones using the M.2 form factor, that are designed to tackle very specific and demanding deep learning and inference workloads at the edge without exceeding total cost of ownership.

The Power of Edge AI

Edge AI has unlocked new potential for Industry 4.0 applications, and it is set to grow exponentially by 2025. Advancements made in the IoT devices, artificial intelligence, and edge computing have created a wide range of deployments around the world that utilize AI in edge applications. As AI and ML continue to utilize more IoT devices, edge solutions begin to hit a wall in data intensive workloads. Silicon evolution alone cannot support AI algorithms and the orders of magnitude greater processing performance they require. The necessary balance of performance, cost, and energy demands a new approach featuring more specialized domain-specific architectures.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 75% of enterprise data will be processed outside a traditional centralized data center.

What is M.2 & Domain Specific Architectures?

What is M.2?

The M.2 is regarded as the Next Generation Form Factor and was developed by Intel to deliver peak performance and flexibility. As the successor of the mSATA and mPCIe, the M.2 interface is incredibly fast and versatile thanks to their ability to utilize full PCI Express lanes.

  • Super compact module – Smallest M.2 devices are 18% smaller compared to smallest mPCIe devices.
  • Flexible Measurements – some M.2 ports on a motherboard support multiple lengths of M.2 cards.
  • Power-efficient – M.2 power consumption is limited to 7 watts (W).
  • M.2 devices are much faster than SATA devices – around 50% to 650% faster.
  • Blazing fast specification: NVMe protocol and PCIe 4.0 with up to x4 lanes (16Gb/s each lane)

System architects now widely believe the only path left for major improvements in the performance-energy-cost equation is the domain-specific approach integrating M.2 performance acceleration.

Domain Specific Architectures

DSA, or Domain Specific Architecture, are pieces of performance acceleration hardware designed to take on defined AI workloads. DSAs are special in that they are very good at what they do and are customized for that specific workload. While traditional CPU And GPU systems can provide large processing power, they lack the necessary requirements needed to perform at the edge. DSAs can efficiently offer compact and power efficient solution to the harsh, unstable environments.

Sample Inference Benchmarks

Popular Inference Accelerators for Your Workloads

Rugged Edge Computing

DSAs help enable Edge AI to perform to the fullest. Localizing compute power allows for smart IoT devices such as cameras and sensors to efficiently capture and process data right at the source. Edge computing harnesses the processing power capabilities of DSAs in a rugged architecture to deliver real-time data analytics, enable AI, and provide trusted reliability all at the edge.

Key deployments where Rugged Edge Computing is demanded are: Industrial Automation, ADAS & Autonomous Vehicle, Surveillance & Security, Smart Kiosk

Factory Automation

Machine Vision

Military And Defense

Smart Kiosk

Digital Surveillance

Are you Rugged Edge ready?

Is your application rugged edge ready? When it comes to the rugged edge, the proper hardware is necessary to deliver the critical power performance to capture and analyze data in real time. Not only this, but rugged edge computers must operate without fault in the harshest environments where dust, debris, shock and vibration are common occurrences. Explore our Rugged Edge Media Hub that covers a wide range of topics to help you prepare for your edge AI application.

Explore Rugged Edge AI Inference Solutions

Specialized hardware is required to deliver the critical compute power to capture, process, and analyze data in real time for AI edge applications. Check out the videos to see how Premio's purpose-built rugged edge computers consolidate the next gen technologies in data processing, NVMe data storage, and 5G connectivity to bring machine intelligence to the edge.

10th Gen Intel® Core™ Processor

RCO-6000-CML AI Edge Inference Computer

10th Gen Intel® Core™ Processor

ACO-6000-CML In-Vehicle Computer

9th Gen Intel® Core™ Processor

VCO-6000-CFL Machine Vision Computer

Ultra Fast, Ultra Low Latency

RCO-6000-CFL 5G Ready Fanless Computer

Fast. Reliable. High Capacity.

RCO-6000-CFL ADAS Data Storage Computer

Bringing Rugged Edge Computers to life

Ultimate Flexibility and scalability with Edgeboost Node

RCO-6000-CFL AI Edge Inference Computer

Dawn of AI with Rugged Edge Computers

AI Edge Inference Computers

Premio's line of purpose-built, rugged edge computers are designed and ready to tackle the necessary compute capabilities that drive Edge AI, even in the harshest conditions. Our line of Edge AI Inference and rugged edge computers provide next-gen computation capabilities to help deliver the necessary bandwidth to execute advanced AI algorithms. Built with the latest technologies in data storage, processing, and connectivity, our systems are certified to withstand all the extremities seen in the industrial world.

AI Edge Inference Computers

Deploy machine learning and run proven inference detection with ruggedized computing solutions purpose-built to deliver the highest-performance in processing (CPU & GPU), NVMe storage, and advanced connectivity

Fanless Mini IoT Gateways

Aggregate mission critical IoT sensor data with rugged and hardened IoT gateways that enable data telemetry from multiple endpoints into the cloud for more dashboard analytics.

Industrial Embedded Computers

Streamline Industry 4.0 automation with industrial-grade computing solutions for the harshest manufacturing environments requiring better data analysis for predictive insight and better productivity

Small Form Factor Computers

Purpose-built computing hardware to meet the toughest demands in rugged, mobile, and remote applications that require decentralized processing as close to data generation.

In-Vehicle Computer

Purpose-built and compliant for intelligent transportation and automotive applications requiring strict compliance for in-vehicle computing hardware

HMI Panel PC and Industrial Monitors

Integrate IP Rated All-In-One touchscreen displays to assist with automation and efficiency for in-line production equipment in the harshest IoT data processing applications

HPC Storage Servers for Micro Edge Datacenter

Data from thousands of IoT sensors, gateways, and industrial computers can be stored and managed in micro edge datacenters for maximum accessibility. High performance and dense storage servers provide access to mission critical data when it matters most