Alibaba-backed firm introduces new processor to handle AI functions

Alibaba-backed firm introduces new processor to handle AI functions

Amidst the tough competition in the world of AI dominated by leading tech giants, a start-up based in the U.S has emerged as the innovator in the field of edge AI. Kneron Inc, a semiconductor firm backed by Qualcomm Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has reportedly unveiled a new chip named ‘KL720’ to efficiently handle AI functions on battery-powered devices.

Sources cite that the ground-breaking KL720 chip can perform tasks like speech or image recognition. Many battery-powered devices currently require an internet connection to conduct speech recognition or natural process language. However, the company’s new chip doesn’t require an internet connection as it can hold a dictionary worth of words on the device itself.

With this new chip, Kneron is aiming to handle tasks on smaller devices like drones, doorbells, and smart speakers. Performing speech and image recognition without connecting to a cloud data center can present lesser privacy concerns and make devices perform better when wireless data access is sparse.

Kneron said its new ground-breaking chip will be obtainable to device manufacturers for testing in the forthcoming weeks.

In recent years, AI companies across the globe have been significantly raising funds to scale its business. In January, Kneron raised $40 million in a Series A funding round. Horizons Ventures, the venture company operated by Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-Shing, led this funding round and has also participated in previous rounds raised by the firm. Companies like Himax Technologies, Thundersoft, Qualcomm, Sequoia Capital, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, and CDIB also invested in this start-up.

Recently, California-based Syntiant, Kneron’s one of the rivals in energy-efficient AI chips announced prior this month that the company has shipped 1 million chips and secured USD 35 million in a funding round from investors including the Applied Materials Inc, Microsoft Corp’s venture capital arms, and Applied Materials Inc., bringing its total raised to USD 65 million.

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Sunil Jha

Sunil Jha has been a part of the content industry for close to two years. Having previously worked as a voice over artist and sportswriter, he now focuses on writing articles for, across a slew of topics, ranging from technology to trade and finance. With a business-oriented educational background, Sunil brings forth the expertise of deep-dive research and a strategic approach in his write ups.