Espressif Providing Support for the AIoT Market with its Dual-Core ESP32-S3

By Saumitra Jagdale

Freelance Technology Writer

March 05, 2021

Story

Espressif Providing Support for the AIoT Market with its Dual-Core ESP32-S3
(Image courtesy of Espresiff)

The AIoT market needs some help in terms of processing, security, and software support. In order to gain the assistance that’s needed, semiconductor solutions need to step up and meet five key demands:

  1. Enhance the speed of the system

  2. Reduce memory footprint

  3. External interface for implementing AI applications

  4. Built-in security features solve the problem of connecting dedicated external components

  5. Lowers the overall cost and complexity of the system

To provide AIoT applications with an inclusive semiconductor solution, Espressif has released its ESP32-S3 SoC with dedicated AI acceleration support along with vector instructions for AIoT applications. The vector instructions enhance the speed of the system by processing the entire one-dimensional vector instruction at a time. Because of this, code density of the device is enhanced greatly.

Furthermore, the SoC is compatible with the company’s AI software support, eliminating the requirement for external interfaces. 

The company has launched many SoCs with integrated WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, but the ESP32-S3 features an enhanced dual-core MCU with AI-specific instructions and hardware security functions. The built-in security features solve the problem of connecting dedicated external components for security. This lowers the overall cost and complexity of the system.

The core includes XTensa LX7 MCU working at a frequency of 240 MHz, which is faster than the ESP32 160 MHz. Hence, ESP32-S3 SoC being a part of MINI series wireless modules has been dedicated to addressing the needs of the AIoT market. 

Key Features of ESP32-S3 SoC

ESP32-S3 SoC provides an integrated 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi with 40 MHz of bandwidth support, working efficiently even at higher temperatures. The BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) 5.0 allows long-range connections with up to 2 Mbps of data rate. It also features an internal SRAM of 512 KB that can function as the cache memory for the system. 

The SoC supports an extensive range of interfaces with 44 programmable GPIOs and multiple sets of peripherals. The peripherals include SPI, I2S, I2C, PWM, RMT, ADC, DAC, UART, SD/MMC host, and TWAI. There are 14 runtime-controllable digital pins that can be configured as capacitive touch input for HMI applications. In comparison to ESP32, it allows larger and faster octal SPI flash, and PSRAM with adaptive data and instruction cache. 

Security Functions of ESP32-S3 SoC

ESP32-S3 SoC has hardware security requirements for creating safe networks, without any need for external components. It has the option of secure booting for verification using the RSA-PSS signature of an application image before executing it. Additionally, the encryption includes AES-XTS-based flash encryption for off-chip flash memory. It is equipped with a digital signature peripheral and an HMAC module for securing the private or symmetric key from software attacks and identity theft.

AI Software Support for AIoT Applications 

ESP32-S3 SoC comes with the support for vector instructions in the MCU. This enhances the deep learning computations and signal processing for balanced functioning. The ESP-WHO face detection and ESP-Skainet voice assistant Github libraries will be updated by the company to fully use the potential of the device for AIoT applications.

It is compatible with the company’s ESP-IDF platform with testing, regular updates, and an unparalleled support policy. ESP-IDF software architecture helps developers to build new applications or migrate the applications to the ESP32-S3 platform. This ensures the efficient functioning of platform tools and APIs.

Conclusion

ESP32-S3 SoC comes with a larger capacity and quicker SPI flash and PSRAM chips. Its AI acceleration support along with the software libraries makes it a good choice for AIoT applications. The flexible software support allows the users to move their existing compatible ESP-based applications to the ESP32-S3 platform using the ESP-IDF tools and APIs. Also, it supports more interfacing  I/O pints and security functionalities than the ESP32. 

You can check out the SoC on the product page of ESP32-S series chips.on Espressif’s website. For more information visit the official press release of the company.

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Saumitra Jagdale is a Backend Developer, Freelance Technical Author, Global AI Ambassador (SwissCognitive), Open-source Contributor in Python projects, Leader of Tensorflow Community India, and Passionate AI/ML Enthusiast.

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