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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

10

GPGPUs vs. FPGAs for Military Signal Processing

CONTENTS April 2013

Volume 15

Number 4

SPECIAL FEATURE GPGPUs vs. FPGAs for Military Signal Processing

10  GPGPUs Stake Out Territory beside FPGAs for Military Signal Processing Clarence Peckham

16  E xploiting GPGPU RDMA Capabilities Overcomes Performance Limits

COTS (kots), n. 1. Commercial off-the-shelf. Terminology popularized in 1994 within U.S. DoD by SECDEF Wm. Perry’s “Perry Memo” that changed military industry purchasing and design guidelines, making Mil-Specs acceptable only by waiver. COTS is generally defined for technology, goods and services as: a) using commercial business practices and specifications, b) not developed under government funding, c) offered for sale to the general market, d) still must meet the program ORD. 2. Commercial business practices include the accepted practice of customerpaid minor modification to standard COTS products to meet the customer’s unique requirements. —Ant. When applied to the procurement of electronics for the U.S. Military, COTS is a procurement philosophy and does not imply commercial, office environment or any other durability grade. E.g., rad-hard components designed and offered for sale to the general market are COTS if they were developed by the company and not under government funding.

Departments 6 Publisher’s Notebook May Finally Have Hit Bottom 8

The Inside Track

50

COTS Products

58 Editorial Playing Technology Catch Up

Dustin Franklin, GE Intelligent Platforms

TECH RECON Embedded Computing in Unmanned Ground Systems

22  Upgrades and Autonomy Improvements Lead UGV Technology Advances Jeff Child

26  UGV Requirements Push Evolution in HPEC Performance Mike Jones, ADLINK Technology

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Advances in Smart Munitions and Small UAV Payloads

36  Smart Munitions and Small UAVs Wrestle with SWaP Hurdles Jeff Child

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Small Non-Standard Boards

44  Non-Standard Boards Target Function over Form Jeff Child

46

Small Non-Standard Boards Roundup

Digital subscriptions available: cotsjournalonline.com

Coming in May See Page 56 On The Cover: Both GPGPUs and FPGAs are well suited for processing in systems like the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar technology used on the E-2D Hawkeye aircraft. In February the E-2D Hawkeye was approved to enter full-rate production. The previous version, the E-2C, is shown here after launching during flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by MC 2nd Class Walter M. Wayman.)


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COTS Journal HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050, www.rtcgroup.com Editorial office Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief 20A Northwest Blvd., PMB#137, Nashua, NH 03063 Phone: (603) 429-8301

THE JOURNAL OF MILITARY ELECTRONICS & COMPUTING

4

COTS Journal | April 2013

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Published by THE RTC GROUP Copyright 2013, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.

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Publisher’s

NOTEBOOK May Finally Have Hit Bottom

S

ometimes you have to hit the bottom before you can work your way up and out. Thud. In February we found the bottom. The AUSA Winter is a conference we’ve attended and supported for many years. It allows us the opportunity to have an interplay with many of our industry’s customers and show our support. From the perspective of someone visiting the exhibit floor with no data from the organizers, this show was only about a third the size of last year’s—in both exhibitors and attendees. Travel cutbacks for U.S. military personnel were highly evident—only foreign military personnel were visible below the pay grade of O-6. Here at COTS Journal, we ruminated over having our Editorin-Chief, Jeff Child, and me go to this conference this year, considering the current military budget situation and the prospect of a lightly attended conference. In the end we decided it was just as important for COTS Journal to show support for our industry in bad times as in good times. This similar view was taken by many more of the smaller exhibitors than the big power houses of the industry. Although Boeing was not the only big prime with a fully laid out and staffed booth, they were the exception. Too many primes had empty booths with just a company sign and a few people standing around to direct people on how they could contact corporate representatives back in the plant. Some primes embarrassed themselves to the point of not even having a product sign or piece of literature on these large island booths. Like any conference or show, some company booths had a large number of attendees interested while others had very few. This one was no different. The reduced show size provided us the opportunity to talk to many more people than we usually can. One of the questions we always posed when visiting a booth was this: “Many companies decided not to come or not to stock and staff their booth, what prompted you to buck that trend?” Although the answers varied, the more common themes were: “we paid for most of the cost already,” “my customers are here and I need to show the same level of commitment,” and “although the attendance is light we always find a few new clients.” Even though we felt badly for the conference speakers who had a light attendance, we felt even worse for company employees who had to stand in completely empty booths and attempt to explain why their management decided on this tact. It’s always easy to support your team when times are good. But it’s when times are bad that support is needed the most. I’m highly disappointed in the companies that did not support the industry 6

COTS Journal | April 2013

and embarrassed their companies with their empty booths. I’m certain that the attendees that did come out for the conference took notice of the companies that didn’t support the conference or the industry. This last year, it was easy for us to get into a melancholy mood and focus on all the problems and forget that not everyone is feeling the same pain. Those that have been doing better than the average are highly reluctant to let the word out. That said, there is a respectable number of companies under $100 million that have had growth over the previous year—some even 2030 percent. Now that Congress has allowed Sequestration to go into effect and some form of budget deal must be implemented, on April Fools’ Day we should all start to see improvement. Although Congress will still attempt to re-adjust what the services say they need to complete their mission; it will be to a lesser degree—allowing the services to move forward not only with mandated reductions but also acquisitions. Unless the new Secretary of Defense Hagel makes drastic changes to the plan put in place by SECDEF Panetta, we should start to see more contracts for cyber and unmanned systems, special ops and space. Transforming existing leading-edge technology into usable and affordable military systems will be key to getting the most out of our reduced number of military personnel and their requirement to respond to several threats simultaneously. Major military suppliers have already determined a plan to cope with acquisition changes, and their stockholders must concur with their plans because they haven’t abandoned ship. Over the next few months, undoubtedly, the nightly news will continue to capitalize on the fact that in January they learned the words Sequestration and Sequester. In contrast, the trade press has been concerned about sequestration and the military budget ever since sequestration was signed into law. We’re at the bottom. From here on out the trade press should be able to write about positive trends in our marketplace—and it’s long overdue.

Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal


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The

INSIDE TRACK Z Microsystems Displays Chosen for STUAS RQ-21A Program on Amphibious Ships The Naval Surface Warfare Center has Z Microsystems to supply its Intelligent Display Series for use in the Small Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (STUAS RQ-21A) program onboard amphibious ships (LHD, LHA and LPD classes). This program provides ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) support for the United States Marine Corp using the Integrator UAV (Figure 1) supplied by Insitu Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing. In February, the U.S. Navy completed its first successful test flight of the STUAS system at sea from the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. The system also completed three months of land-based trial flights at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA, before launching from a LPD-class ship. The Z Microsystems Intelligent Display Series (IDS) of flat panel displays offer real-time enhanced video (RTEV) capabilities to improve critical tactical surveillance missions. The LCD display panels use a high-powered FPGA to apply image enhancement algorithms to incoming video streams without adding latency. A sophisticated image enhancement algorithm brings out detail in images degraded by poor visibility or atmospheric interference. Operators can turn image functions on or off with the click of a button. Z Microsystems, San Diego, CA. (858) 831-7000. [www.zmicro.com].

Open Group Releases Technical Standard for FACE Edition 2.0 The Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium, an Open Group managed consortium, has announced the immediate availability of the FACE Technical Standard, Edition 2.0. This edition is an enhanced version of the open avionics standard for making military computing operations more robust, interoperable, portable and secure. The FACE Technical Standard enables developers to create and deploy a wide catalog of applications for use across the entire spectrum of military aviation systems through a common operating environment. The new edition of the standard further promotes application interoperability and portability with enhanced requirements for exchanging data among FACE 8

COTS Journal | April 2013

components and emphasis on defining common language requirements for the standard. Key additions to Edition 2.0 of the FACE Technical Standard include the FACE Data Model, Language Run-Times and Component Frameworks, Protocol Mediation Services, Streaming Media Services and expanded definitions of Units of Portability. These additions broaden the standard to accommodate other languages and aviation mission requirements, including required capabilities such as streaming video, and will accelerate the rate of adoption as Edition 2.0 now further accommodates the requirements and needs of organizations within the industry implementing the standard. The Open Group San Francisco, CA. (415) 374-8280. [www.opengroup.org].

Figure 1

Members of the RQ-21A STUAS test team transport the RQ-21A across the flight deck of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) after its first flight at sea.

General Dynamics to Port MUOS Waveforms onto Navy Digital Modular Radios General Dynamics C4 Systems received a $40 million contract modification in December 2012 from the U.S. Navy to port the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) waveform and the Integrated Waveform into the AN/USC-61(C) Digital Modular Radio (DMR) (Figure 2). General Dynamics has been delivering DMRs to the Navy since 1998. The MUOS waveform allows the four-channel DMR to communicate using the MUOS satellite communications network, the military’s next-generation narrowband satellite communications system. MUOS provides highspeed voice and data connectivity across a worldwide

Figure 2

The MUOS waveform allows the four-channel DMR to communicate using the MUOS satellite communications network. network that extends into the most remote locations. General Dynamics developed the MUOS waveform as part of the MUOS program and has integrated it into the Handheld Manpack Small Form Fit (HMS) AN/ PRC-155 Manpack radio. The company is also building the four MUOS ground sites that


INSIDE TRACK

support worldwide communication from the ground to the MUOS satellites and from one end-user to another. General Dynamics C4 Systems Scottsdale, AZ. (480) 441-3033. [www.gdc4s.com].

Electronics and HPEC Communities Sought for Microfluidic Cooling Demo DARPA’s ICECool seeks to demonstrate intrachip/interchip microfluidic cooling. The increased density of electronic components and subsystems in military electronic systems exacerbates the thermal management challenges facing engineers. The military platforms that host these systems often cannot physically accommodate the large cooling systems needed for thermal management, meaning that heat can be a limiting factor for performance of electronics and embedded computers.

Figure 3

DARPA chose MMIC chips and HPC modules as demonstrators because of their military relevance and previous Agency work with these devices. DARPA introduced the Intrachip/Interchip Enhanced Cooling (ICECool) program in June 2012 to explore “embedded” thermal management. The premise of ICECool is to bring microfluidic cooling inside the substrate, chip or package,

including thermal management in the earliest stages of electronics design. One track of the program, ICECool Fundamentals, has already begun basic research into microfabrication and evaporative cooling techniques. Under the new ICECool Applications Track, DARPA now seeks performers from the electronics and highperformance computing (HPC) communities to demonstrate microfluidic cooling in monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) and embedded HPC modules (Figure 3).

tion of the SGET. The SMARC specification describes extremely flat ARM/SoC-based ultra-lowpower Computer-on-Modules in miniature format. The module specification is aimed at manufacturers of Computer-onModules as well as carrier board and system developers. OEMs and VARs profit from the new specification due to the resulting comprehensive ecosystem for ultra-flat ARM/SoC-based Computer-on-Modules in miniature format. The specification is available free of charge on the SGET website.

DARPA Arlington, VA. (703) 526-6630. [www.darpa.mi].

Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

SGET Certifies ULPCOM Standard for ARM/ SoC Processors

ITT Exelis to Supply Coast Guard with Airborne Surveillance Radar Systems

The Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies (SGET) has officially announced the ratification of the new SMARC Computer-on-Modules specification. Kontron played the leading role in the development of the specification, which had the working title ULP-COM. This new Smart Mobility ARChitecture for ARM/SoC-based extremely compressed Computer-on-Modules was approved within a short time frame. The speedy ratification goes to underline the market’s need for a new ARM/SoC-based form factor standard, as well as the agility of the newly created SGET body. Coinciding with the adoption of this new standard, three design lines have already become available at Kontron. Developers can now begin engineering innovative ultra-low-power devices based on the new SMARC standard. SMARC is the brand name of the first form factor specifica-

ITT Exelis has received a $6.5 million award to supply a radar system to the U.S. Coast Guard. The radar will support

the service’s maritime reconnaissance mission. Integrated on the new HC-130J Super Hercules (Figure 4) long-range surveillance aircraft, the AN/ APY-11 multimode radar is designed to support the Coast Guard’s changing missions, including long-range surveillance, drug interdiction and counterterrorism. First provided to the Coast Guard under a 2005 contract award, the AN/APY-11 multimode radar is produced by Exelis and partner ELTA Systems Ltd. The HC-130J aircraft performs maritime surveillance in areas that cannot be patrolled efficiently by medium-range surveillance aircraft or cutters. The aircraft also provides heavy air transport for maritime safety and security teams, port security units and National Strike Force personnel and equipment. ITT Exelis McLean, VA. (703) 790-6300. [www.exelisinc.com].

Figure 4

Integrated on the new HC-130J Super Hercules long-range surveillance aircraft, the AN/APY-11 multimode radar is designed to support the Coast Guard’s changing missions. April 2013 | COTS Journal

9


SPECIAL FEATURE GPGPUs vs. FPGAs for Military Signal Processing

10

COTS Journal | April 2013


GPGPUs Stake Out Territory beside FPGAs for Military Signal Processing Fueled by their ease of programming and parallel processing efficiency, GPGPUs are rivaling FPGAs as an option for military signal processing applications. Meanwhile, FPGAs maintain a solid grip for many situations. Clarence Peckham Senior Editor

W

ith the number of FPGAs and GPGPUs available in the marketplace, there are multiple choices for designers of signal processing systems. There is no simple answer of which type of processor to use, and as the development tools become more advanced and easier to use, the choice between FPGA and GPGPU is more difficult. There have been previous articles in COTS Journal discussing FPGAs and GPGPUs, for example, “FPGAs and GPGPUs Vie for Military System Design Mindshare,� April 2012 by Marc Couture, Mercury Computer Systems. However, the use of FPGAs and GPGPU solutions for military systems is still a very current topic, particularly as more emphasis is applied to highperformance sensor data acquisition and analysis.

Homogeneous to Heterogeneous Processing Several years ago the only solution for adding computer power to an application was to add more processors to the system. This was achieved either by adding more than one processor on a board or by adding multiple processor boards to the system. With the state of the art in programming tools available in the 1990s, the best choice was to use processors of the same family to avoid different toolsets and operating system choices. April 2013 | COTS Journal

11


SPECIAL FEATURE

2013

CPU

2000

CPU

1990

CPU

Multicore

DSP

GPU

FPGA

DSP

FPGA

DSP

FPGA

Development Complexity Figure 1

The types of processors available for systems applications has changed as has the programming complexity required to implement the system. Use of FPGAs at the time was limited to providing additional I/O interfaces and bus interface modules such as PCI. Figure 1 shows the evolution of processing options over time. The use of standard processors such as Intel and PowerPC architectures was augmented by the addition of specialized processors such as digital signal processors (DSP). DSP architectures were developed to process algorithms and in most cases could be programmed in languages that were used for processors (C/ C++, for example). On the far extreme of processing options was the FPGA board. Products that required specialized knowledge to program were the domain of senior hardware designers who understood the concept of parallel processes and specialized languages such as VHDL and Verilog. Development time for FPGA solutions was long and required a close collaboration between the hardware design team and the software development/algorithm team. Obviously the best solution would be to have a common language for developing a system using the same programming language. To fill the gap between general processors and dedicated FPGA solutions, and to compensate for the inability to develop faster processors, multicore processors were developed and graphics processing units (GPU) were added, which were used to offload imaging and display functions. 12

COTS Journal | April 2013

The development of GPUs reached the point where multiple processing elements were added to the GPUs and an application interface was developed so that the GPU could be used as a general purpose processor. The result was the unfortunately named General Purpose Graphics Processor Unit (GPGPU). A better name might have been General Purpose Processing Unit since the massively parallel processor was being used for more than graphics applications. The GPGPU could be used for any application that could be accelerated using multiple processors performing the same algorithm on different parts of the data. In other words, the GPGPU could be used to provide highly paralleled solutions to an algorithm. This is exactly what the FPGA was being used for in a lot of applications. The difference is that the GPGPU was being programmed in a form of C/++ that understood parallel processes and could be programmed by the same software developers that were programming the processor code.

Sequential vs. Parallel Programming The main advantage of an FPGA is that the architecture allows processes in the FPGA to execute in parallel. Each clock cycle of the FPGA causes all of the implemented modules in the FPGA to execute with no delays. Unless multiple modules

in the FPGA require use of the same data, there is no need to synchronize any of the modules. This presents a problem for implementers trying to convert an algorithm that is written in C/C++ to an FPGA. C/ C++ is a sequential language and does not have constructs that allow processes to run in parallel. There have been several attempts to use C/C++ to develop code for FPGAs, but until recently none have been very successful. However, with the development of multicore processors and GPGPUs with hundreds of processors on a chip, a solution had to be found. A consortium of vendors started by Apple, which developed into the Khronos Group, developed a specification and application interface to allow parallel processing using a C/ C++ implementation. The consortium developed the OpenCL specification. Currently OpenCL can be used for x86 architecture multicore processors, NVIDIA GPGPUs , AMD (ATI) GPGPUs, ARM GPGPUs as well as others. One interesting aspect of OpenCL is that an OpenCL application will operate on any processing architecture that conforms to the OpenCL specification. Or in other words, an application developed to work on a dual core x86 architecture chip can be ported to a 192 processor GPGPU with very little effort. Now it is truly possible to build a heterogeneous system using the same development tools.

Where Does This Leave FPGAs? Is this the end of FPGAs for large systems? Not at all. Even with the rapid development and acceptance of OpenCL for developing parallel applications on both processors and GPGPUs, there is still a major place for FPGAs in new military signal processing. Figure 2 shows one of the latest products from Pentek. The Pentek 71641 is an FPGA-based data acquisition XMC module that provides exceptional bandwidth. The 71641 has a 3.6 GHz 12-bit analog to digital converter front end and a Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA that is used to continuously process the data and provide a baseband output that can be used for downstream processing. This product demonstrates one of the ideal uses for an FPGA. However, how can an FPGA rated to operate


SPECIAL FEATURE

GHz sample rate and fitting the design into the FPGA,” Roger added.

Managing FPGA IP According to Rodger, in the case of the 71641, the product is used “as is” by most customers. There has only been one customer that has changed the FPGA IP and added their own enhancements. “We normally do not encourage customers to change the IP for products like the 71641 since any changes will change the routing

of the device and may change the performance of the finished FPGA.” The programming of the 71641 with its concurrent processing of eight data streams sounds like a good application for a GPGPU. Rodger explains the difference: “FPGAs are used in cases where streaming of data is required. This includes transferring data from the real world to memory in a streaming mode, but also with concurrent processing. The GPGPU is very good at processing blocks of data from high-speed

Figure 2

The 71641 board is capable of digitizing one 12-bit channel at 3.6 GHz, or two channels at 1.8 GHz and comes preconfigured with a programmable oneor two-channel digital downconverter (DDC) loaded into the onboard Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA. at a clock speed of 500 MHz handle a continuous stream of 3.6 GHz 12-bit data input, process the data into baseband and provide a continuous output? Rodger Hoskings, vice president and co-founder of Pentek Inc., provides the answer: “Handling 3.6 GHz of 12-bit data in a device that can only process at 0.5 GHz rate required splitting the incoming data into eight 450 MHz data paths, processing each in parallel and recombining the baseband results in the end; a nontrivial task.” The IP in the 71641 was developed by Pentek engineers and required at least six man-months of effort. This is with engineers that had already completed a previous product that processed two channels at 500 MHz, so the process was already defined and tested before the 71641 was even started. “The challenge was handling the processing at the 3.6 Untitled-5 1

3/28/13 April 2013 | COTS Journal

1:34 PM

13


SPECIAL FEATURE

OpenCL Monte Carlo

Quad Core XEON

GPGPU

Stratix IV FPGA

Simulations/second

240M

2,100M

2,200M

Power (Watts)

130

215

21

Figure 3

Monte Carlo Black-Scholes Simulation is used in financial markets to compute option prices by conducting random simulations of the stock price over millions of different possible outcomes. (Source: Altera Corp.)

memory and returning the results to memory, for instance, processing I and Q baseband data using filters or FFT algorithms.� If a product such as the Pentek 71641 was used in a system that required additional processing, that would be a good application for a multicore processor. However, if more power is needed, then a GPGPU would be a good choice. In this case software engineers would be able to program the GPGPU in C/C++ using CUDA for NVIDIA or OpenCL for NVIDIA, AMD or ARM GPGPU solutions.

Data Streaming on GPGPUs Recent improvements of data flow in GPGPUs have provided methods of streaming data into them. In the past, getting data into GPGPUs has required transferring the data into the main memory by a processor and then transferring the memory to the GPGPU, using the GPGPU to process the data and rewrite the data back to main memory. This process can take as many as three memory transfers. Mercury Systems has implemented a system called Streamdirect that lets the data go directly to the GPGPU without being processed by the main processor. Even with data streaming, the interface method used on GPGPUs is PCI Express, and an FPGA would normally be used to interface the sensor with PCI Express so that the data could be streamed to the GPGPU. Since the FPGA can also be classified as a massively parallel processor, it is also possible to utilize OpenCL tools to program the FPGA. Altera’s OpenCL to FPGA compiler removes the requirement for the designer to develop FPGAs with traditional tools, and allows the OpenCL code to be directly converted into an FPGA programming file. Using the OpenCL compiler allows FPGAs to be programmed in C/C++. Figure 3 shows an example from Altera of the effectiveness of using OpenCL on CPUs, GPGPUs and FPGAs. The Monte Carlo Black-Scholes calculation is used extensively in the financial markets and is very compute intensive. Even so, the algorithm requires only 300 lines of OpenCL code and is portable from CPU to GPGPU to FPGA. The results shown in Figure 3 show that the performance between the GPGPU and FPGA are very close except for one factor and that is power. One of the drawbacks of using GPGUntitled-18 1 COTS Journal | April 2013 14

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SPECIAL FEATURE

PUs is that they are very power intensive. If an OpenCL compiler can be used to develop an application and then deploy the result on an FPGA, it is clear that there is a great improvement in performance and reduced power consumption. That makes an excellent combination for a military signal processing application.

Technology Marches Forward Looking at a snapshot of the technology today, multicore processors, GPGPUs and FPGAs provide multiple solutions for solving signal processing problems. Streaming of high-performance sensors, such as those used for radars, RF spectrum processing and other operations, can be easily processed by FPGAs, and the output streamed directly to CPUs or GPGPUs for processing. For applications that require processing power in the Teraflop range and power is not an issue, multiple GPGPUs may be required. Embedded systems for UAVs and other applications that have power and cooling constraints may use FPGAs and CPUs. The one common thread is that we are getting closer to being able to use the same common development tools for either type of application. In the long run, this will improve code reutilization and reduce the development costs. It also should decrease the cost of upgrades since the newer technology FPGAs, GPGPUs and CPUs would be able to run the same application with very little programming changes other than adding new features.

GE Intelligent Platforms Charlottesville, VA. (800) 368-2738. [www.ge-ip.com].

Pentek Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201)818-5900. [www.pentek.com].

Khronos Group Beaverton, OR. (415) 869-8627. [www.khronos.org/opencl].

Mercury Systems Chelmsford, MA. (866)627-6551. [www.mrcy.com].

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15


SPECIAL FEATURE GPGPUs vs. FPGAs for Military Signal Processing

Exploiting GPGPU RDMA Capabilities Overcomes Performance Limits GPGPUs already offer performance and ease-of-use advantages for parallel processing designs. By taking advantage of RDMA features in GPGPU chips, performance is boosted further by overcoming interconnect bottlenecks. Dustin Franklin, GPGPU Applications Engineering Specialist GE Intelligent Platforms

G

PU technology has increasingly found favor in military/aerospace applications because of the significant opportunity it presents to apply its inherently massively parallel architecture to non-graphics applications that can take advantage of that parallelism. However, it has not been possible to extract the maximum possible performance from so-called GPGPU—general purpose computing using graphics processing units—because of an important limitation. That limitation has now been overcome, creating the potential to extract even more throughput from the technology. Since GPGPU computing emerged in 2007, the performance gains offered by GPUs have been offset to a degree by a critical bottleneck: moving the data to and from the GPU over PCIe. In the past, the GPU was only able to DMA to/from system memory, routed via the CPU. If the data originated from another PCIe endpoint, such as an FPGA, 10GigE NIC, or InfiniBand HCA, the data would first have to be DMA’d to system memory, then in many cases copied in user-space between unshared driver buffers, and fi16

COTS Journal | April 2013

1 I/O endpoint

PCIe switch

2

System memory

CPU

3 GPU

I/O driver space GPU driver space

GPU memory

Figure 1

Without GPUDirect, data from I/O endpoints must first be buffered in system memory before being transferred to the GPU. nally DMA’d into the GPU for processing (Figure 1). Because of the additional hops in system memory, this datapath incurred additional latency and decreased bandwidth, which precluded the GPU from being deployed in many real-time applications. Beginning with the latest generation of Kepler-family GPUs and CUDA 5.0 from NVIDIA, a new feature called GPUDirect RDMA enabled third-party PCIe endpoints to DMA directly to and from the GPU, without the use of system

memory or the GPU. The use of GPUDirect RDMA results in dramatically lower latencies and efficient PCIe utilization, as well as decreased CPU overhead (Figure 2).

How GPUDirect Works Each system’s PCIe address space includes a mapping of system memory, enabling endpoints and their DMA engines to access it, and also sets of Base Address Registers (BARs) for each endpoint. Traditionally, BARs are used to access an


SPECIAL FEATURE

I/O endpoint

PCIe switch

CPU

System memory

GPU

GPU memory

1

Figure 2

With GPUDirect RDMA, data can be streamed directly into the GPU from I/O endpoints, without buffering first in system memory.

System memory

CPU

PCIe switch

I/O endpoint

GPU

I/O endpoint

GPU

endpoint’s control registers from kernel drivers running on the CPU. However, NVIDIA Kepler-family GPUs implement a BAR that provides an aperture into the GPU’s internal memory, which other endpoints can use for DMA. This GPUDirect aperture can map up to 256 Mbyte of internal GPU memory at a time for access by external PCIe endpoints. The aperture is controlled from the user’s CUDA application. Using the GPUDirect aperture is transparent for the endpoints and requires no changes to the hardware. Since GPUDirect RDMA only relies on previously standardized PCIe DMA operations, integration is of minimal impact. This enables GPUDirect RDMA to be integrated with a wide range of already existing PCIe endpoints that support DMA. In normal operation, where the endpoint’s DMA engine is transferring to/ from system memory, the endpoint’s kernel driver populates the DMA engine’s scatter-gather list with the addresses of system memory, which are allocated and provided by the host operating system. The only change to enable GPUDirect RDMA is that, now, the endpoint’s kernel driver will populate addresses of the GPUDirect aperture instead of system memory addresses. These GPUDirect addresses are provided by the CUDA user API and NVIDIA kernel driver. For more information about interfacing with CUDA and NVIDIA’s kernel driver, consult the GPUDirect RDMA documentation included with the Linux version of CUDA Toolkit 5.0, or contact a GE representative.

System Topologies GPU memory

GPU memory sensor

DMA pipeline #1

sensor

DMA pipeline #2

Figure 3

GPUDirect RDMA is flexible and permits multi-GPU configurations to be integrated with multiple I/O endpoints.

18

COTS Journal | April 2013

In addition to being flexible from a hardware and software perspective, GPUDirect RDMA is also flexible from a system topology perspective. Multiple endpoints can DMA to/from the same GPU simultaneously. Additionally, there can be multiple GPUs in the system, each of which has its own GPUDirect aperture that can be independently mapped and accessed by one or more endpoints (Figure 3). In fact, GPUDirect RDMA enables higher GPU-to-CPU ratios than previously seen because of increased GPU


SPECIAL FEATURE

Applications and Performance GPUDirect RDMA is an ideal solution for those who wish to harness the parallel processing horsepower of the GPU, but whose applications demand real-time, low-latency streaming. One such application is to integrate FPGA sensor interfaces, which receive and/or transmit radar, SIGINT, or EW signals for example, with GPUs for a low-latency, high-bandwidth front-end signal processing pipeline. Traditionally, the use of GPUs in real-time DSP applications was curtailed by the endpoint-to-CPUto-GPU DMA chain, but, with the deployment of GPUDirect RDMA, lower latencies can be achieved. As such, the application space for GPUs in signal processing is greatly expanding. To explore this, it is instructive to review a case study using GE’s 6U VPX IPN251 and ICS1572 XMC. The IPN251 is a quad-core Ivy Bridge SBC integrated with a 384-core NVIDIA Kepler GPU, Mellanox ConnectX-3 InfiniBand/10GigE

Figure 4

The IPN251 supports GPUDirect RDMA. It combines an Intel Ivybridge SBC, chip-down NVIDIA Kepler GPU, Mellanox ConnectX-3 adapter and XMC site on a single 6U VPX board.

InfiniBand 10GigE

CPU

GPU

CPU

CPU

XMC

GPU

GPU

GPU

CPU

GPU

CPU

CPU

CPU

GPU

XMC

GPU

GPU

GPU

XMC

GPU

CPU

GPU

CPU

CPU

XMC

GPU

GPU

GPU

Output

InfiniBand 10GigE

I/O

Incoming data

autonomy. Thus, CPUs can manage more GPUs (up to 16), in additional to having substantially more CPU headroom left over for serial post-processing. The user application is responsible for configuring the data flows (e.g., which endpoints DMA to which GPUs and vice versa). Since the underpinnings of GPUDirect RDMA are transparent to external endpoints, the rule of thumb regarding DMA is “if a certain configuration of endpoint(s) were able to DMA to system memory, then they can also DMA to the GPU(s) via GPUDirect RDMA.” This also holds true whether or not there is a PCIe switch in the system. GPUDirect RDMA functions optimally when both the GPU and endpoint are downstream of a PCIe switch, as dedicated switches (such as those from PLX or IDT) route peer-to-peer traffic more efficiently. However, even if the GPU and endpoint are connected to the CPU’s root complex, GPUDirect RDMA will still function correctly. One thing to note, however, is that multi-GPU systems generally have one or more PCIe switches to achieve the necessary connectivity between GPUs and endpoints.

Figure 5

Integration of GPUDirect RDMA with networking adapters, such as Mellanox ConnectX, enables efficient IPC over fabrics like InfiniBand and 10GigE. adapter and XMC site (Figure 4). On the IPN251’s XMC site, the ICS1572, a Xilinx Virtex-6-based RF interface with two ADC channels and two DAC channels, was mounted. Using GPUDirect RDMA, data was streamed directly from the ICS1572’s ADCs into the Kepler GPU. Note that the ICS1572 uses a PCIe gen1 x8 connection, so the maximum achievable bandwidth is 2 Gbytes/s.

Back-End Interconnects The usefulness of GPUDirect RDMA doesn’t apply only to front-end sensor interfaces. It can also be deployed to

achieve lower latencies across back-end interconnects for inter-processor communication (IPC). For example, integrating GPUDirect RDMA with InfiniBand HCAs and/or 10GigE NICs permits scalable networks of GPUs that exist across many CPU nodes. Although GPUDirect RDMA enables ever-increasing GPU-toCPU ratios, a limit is nevertheless reached when multi-GPU systems are broken up to include multiple CPU host nodes. In this case, GPUDirect RDMA is effective and efficient at maintaining low-latency communication between GPUs across the network. April 2013 | COTS Journal

19


SPECIAL FEATURE

GPUDirect RDMA solves an age-old problem for GPUs by removing the CPU and system memory bottleneck. By doing so, GPUDirect RDMA greatly decreases the latency of streaming data into the GPU from external PCIe endpoints and increases bandwidth through more efficient PCIe intercommunication. This allows the GPU to move into new application domains, like electronic warfare and radar/SIGINT frontends, which were

previously inaccessible due to low-latency requirements. GPUDirect promotes GPU autonomy and frees up CPU resources that were previously dedicated to managing the GPU and copying around memory. Since CPU overhead for each GPU is now minimized, this in turn permits more GPUs to be connected to each CPU and for larger multi-GPU systems to be deployed.

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GE Intelligent Platforms’ most recent rugged 3U and 6U VPX products are fully enabled for GPUDirect RDMA, including the 3U GRA112, which features a 384core NVIDIA Kepler GPU, and also the 6U IPN251. In addition, GE’s sensor processing interfaces, such as the ICS1572, ICS8580, SPR870A and SPR507B, have been integrated and tested with GPUDirect RDMA. Moreover, GE’s use of Mellanox ConnectX InfiniBand and 10GigE adapters allows GPUDirect RDMA to be utilized across back-end networks for low-latency IPC as well (Figure 5). Due to its flexibility and ease-of-integration with existing third-party endpoints, GPUDirect RDMA has permeated the interconnects deployed in modern COTS architectures. This enables applications to reap the performance advantages of GPUDirect RDMA across the entire system, from the front-end sensor interfaces to the back-end IPC networks, and to fully harness the parallel processing horsepower offered by GPUs. The advent of GPUDirect RDMA has enabled an important performance limitation to be overcome, allowing the significant potential of GPU technology to be more completely exploited—and requires no changes to the hardware, since it only relies on previously standardized PCIe DMA operations. Applications that demand real-time, low-latency streaming can experience reduced CPU overhead, lower latency and higher bandwidth than was previously possible. GE Intelligent Platforms Charlottesville, VA. (800) 368-2738. [defense.ge-ip.com].

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TECH RECON Embedded Computing in Unmanned Ground Systems

Upgrades and Autonomy Improvements Lead UGV Technology Advances While upgrades and appliqué implementations dominate the latest unmanned ground vehicle developments, the ambitious DoD goals for UGVs look toward ever more critical capabilities. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief

S

ince operations in Iraq and Afghanistan began, the DoD has acquired and deployed thousands of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and support equipment. The systems support a diverse range of duties, everything from suspected object identification and route clearance to locating and defusing improvised explosive devices (IEDs). During these counter-IED missions, Army, Navy and USMC explosive ordnance teams detected and defeated over 11,000 IEDs using UGVs. A report from market research firm Visiongain last fall indicates that the Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) market was set to be worth $651.5 million in 2012, as the drawdown of counter-insurgency operations begins to affect spending on unmanned systems. According to the report’s author, far-reaching change is expected in the UGV market over the next decade and in the long term for both global defense and homeland security services. Leading and coordinating development efforts in UGVs is the DoD’s Robotics Systems Joint Project Office (RS JPO). A long-term goal of this Joint Services organization is to ensure the implementing the congressional goal of one third of 22

COTS Journal | April 2013

all ground systems unmanned by 2015. Driven by a need to maintain the UGVcapability beyond today’s conflicts, and to serve as a bridge to the program of records, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army approved a Directed Requirement for continued support and sustainment of selected contingency systems.

A Variety of UGVs A number of systems are authorized for retention and to compete for Army Operations and maintenance sustainment funding in Fiscal Years 2014-2018. The systems were chosen based on the Cost-Benefit Analysis that considered costs to procure, reset, store and sustain systems funded from contingency. Among these systems are Small Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Packbot 500 Fastac, SUGV XM-1216 w/Tether, SUGV 310 (Mini-EOD)), as well as Man Transportable Robotic Systems (TALON III B, TALONG IV, Packbot 510). The RS JPO expects more formalized evaluation of sustainment strategies and potential system modifications, based on the directed requirement. Many of those details are expected to be available in the Army’s Unmanned Ground Vehicle Campaign

Plan to be included in the publishing of the 2013 RS JPO UGS (Unmanned Ground Systems) Roadmap in July.

Technology Upgrades One of the most active areas of UGV technology advancement in the past 12 months has been in technology upgrades of existing ground robot platforms. For example, iRobot last summer received a $7.7 million order from the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) for robot upgrades. The order called for iRobot Aware 2 software upgrades and the delivery of advanced sensor suites for 248 fielded Man Transportable Robotic System (MTRS) MK 1 MOD 1 robots. MTRS MK 1 MOD 1 is modeled after the iRobot 510 PackBot (Figure 1). Sensor suites include the iWARVVS (iRobot Wide-Angle Robot Vehicle Vision System) camera, thermal camera and iRobot’s User Assist Package (UAP). The cameras provide greater situational awareness through increased fields of view and imaging in low light environments. iRobot’s UAP adds improvements to the operator control unit, GPS mapping and critical semi-autonomous features to 510 PackBot, including self-


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TECH RECON

righting, retro-traverse and heading hold. These capabilities speed up operations and reduce workload for the operator, letting them focus on successful completion of the mission. Around the same time, iRobot also received a $12.7 million order from the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, Michigan for 68 of the company’s model 310 SUGV robots and spares kits. That order allowed the Army to purchase iRobot 310 SUGV robots and spares kits through September 2015. To date, 138 robots and spares kits have been ordered under the contract, bringing its total current value to approximately $24 million. The iRobot 310 SUGV is a man-portable robot with dexterous manipulator and wearable controller. A smaller and lighter version of the combat-proven iRobot PackBot, it enters areas that are inaccessible or too dangerous for people, providing state-of-the-art technology for infantry troops, combat engineers, mobile EOD technicians and other personnel. iRobot also won orders for the delivery of spares for iRobot 510 PackBot robots, including operator control units, manipulator arms and radios. The 510 PackBot is a tactical mobile robot for a variety of missions, including reconnaissance, route clearance, hazardous materials detection and bomb disposal.

ular robot can also carry out other critical missions such as positioning counterimprovised explosive device charges, delivering remote sensors, gathering intelligence and conducting surveillance. The U.S. Marines also placed a $4.3M order for additional DR10 robots to provide near-term operational support.

IED Defeat Technology

Figure 1

The MTRS MK 1 MOD 1 is modeled after the iRobot 510 PackBot. Its sensor suites include the iWARVVS camera, thermal camera and iRobot’s User Assist Package (UAP).

Lowering SWaP Critical for UGVs Size, weight and power (SWaP) are particularly critical in the ultra-small “throwable” class of UGVs. Last year the RS JPO selected QinetiQ North America’s (QNA) lightweight, throwable Dragon Runner 10 (DR10) robot to increase combat effectiveness on the battlefield. The order, valued at $4.3M, is set to deliver dozens more of the DR10 ultra-light reconnaissance robot systems to RS JPO. This is in addition to the U.S. military’s order for more than one hundred DR10 systems earlier last year, with many DR10s from the initial order already in combat. DR10 is a micro-unmanned ground vehicle designed to support military and first responder reconnaissance missions. At ten pounds, DR10 is small enough to carry in an assault pack and rugged enough to throw into buildings and hostile environments. DR10 can climb stairs, 24

COTS Journal | April 2013

Figure 2

Bobcat Engineer, also dubbed the U.S. Army’s Minotaur unmanned vehicle, includes QinetiQ’s Robotic Appliqué Kit mounted on a diesel-powered Bobcat loader equipped with mine rollers. carry significant payloads and maintain effective wireless communication over long distances. To protect warfighters’ lives, DR10 is thrown or driven into potentially hostile environments to assess situations remotely, before committing personnel. DR10 provides rapid situational awareness with visual reports back to its operator using day and night sensors. With optional accessories, this mod-

Defeating IEDs ranks as one of the most important roles played by unmanned vehicles. This technology is under constant pressure to improve and advance. With that in mind, the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) last summer sponsored the 2012 Counter-IED Robotics Challenge. The competition was designed to demonstrate an unmanned vehicle’s ability to disrupt victim-activated IED trigger switches. Vehicles were evaluated based on trigger condition, training device activation and speed. With a two-hour time limit, Bobcat Engineer successfully completed the challenge in just 35 minutes. QinetiQ North America’s Bobcat Engineer unmanned vehicle won the Disrupt Challenge, Mounted Support Category. Bobcat Engineer, also known as the U.S. Army’s Minotaur unmanned vehicle, includes QinetiQ’s Robotic Appliqué Kit mounted on a diesel-powered Bobcat loader equipped with mine rollers (Figure 2). The Robotic Appliqué Kit can turn vehicles into unmanned systems in less than 15 minutes. Bobcat Engineer supports a wide variety of tactical missions, including route clearance and transportation logistics for warfighter equipment and supplies. Using QinetiQ’s wearable Tactical Robotic Controller (TRC), a dismounted warfighter can operate Bobcat Engineer from more than 900 meters away. Developed in cooperation with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the TRC is a universal controller for unmanned air and ground vehicles. New-start ground robotic designs did see some activity over the past year. Among them, last fall Northrop Grumman Corporation’s subsidiary Remotec began deliveries of Titus, the newest and smallest member of its Andros line of UGVs. Titus weighs 135 pounds


TECH RECON

and measures 27 inches long, 16 inches wide and just 23 inches high. It retains the proven four-articulator design that has given Andros vehicles the best performance for more than 20 years. The system also features a unique operator control unit with a hybrid touch-screen and game system-style physical controls. The Andros operating system provides much greater information to the operator while easing user workload through more interactivity with intelligent payloads such as chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear sensors, along with preset arm positions that make manipulation of objects much easier. Titus was designed using a modular approach, which allows the robot to be quickly adapted for a variety of mission scenarios. Removable articulators, wheels and tracks provide users with the capability to navigate passageways that are only 16 inches wide. And they provide the capability to race down range to address a threat at a top speed of 7.5 mph. Industry standard interfaces such as USB and Ethernet make Titus easier to maintain and upgrade and to incorporate payloads and sensors.

Large UGV Implementation At the highest end of the UGV food chain are traditional manned vehicles that are outfitted with electronics gear that enables autonomous or remote operation. Many of these solutions take the form of kits. An example is the Oshkosh Defense TerraMax UGV, a vehicle kit system designed for use on any tactical wheeled vehicle (Figure 3). Proven with thousands of miles of field testing, the Oshkosh TerraMax UGV is capable of supervised autonomous navigation in either a lead or follow role. Its multi-sensor system combines with novel registration techniques to provide accurate positioning estimates without needing to rely on continuous tracking through a lead vehicle or GPS signals. When equipped with the Oshkosh TerraMax UGV, each vehicle is capable of navigation to the objective independently. This not only facilitates tight convoy formation, but also enables the composition of the convoy to change as demanded by traffic conditions, road

Figure 3

Vehicles equipped with the TerraMax UGV technology are able to complete planned missions in full autonomous mode or by “shadowing” a leader vehicle. blockages or other obstructive situation. Vehicles equipped with the TerraMax UGV technology are able to complete planned missions in full autonomous mode or by “shadowing” a leader vehicle. They can also maintain prescribed convoy following distance, function in all weather conditions and operating environments, retain their original payload and performance capabilities, and require minimal human interaction or operator training. At the fall AUSA 2012 show, Oshkosh demonstrated its TerraMax unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) technology for Brig. Gen. Mark Wise, Commanding General of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL). Representatives from MCWL, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the Robotic Systems Joint Project Office and other agencies were also in attendance. Equipped on two Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVR), the TerraMax UGVs conducted representative convoy operations, dem-

onstrating obstacle avoidance and attaining speeds of 35 miles per hour. The event followed MCWL’s successful Enhanced MAGTF Operations (EMO) Limited Objective Experiment (LOE) 2.2, in which the TerraMax system and other technologies under development for future missions were evaluated with a focus on defining tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to successfully employ unmanned ground systems and logistic demand reduction technologies. Oshkosh is transitioning technologies that enable the TerraMax UGV system to provide active-safety features applicable to manned operation of the military’s tactical wheeled vehicle fleets. Leveraging the mature components of the TerraMax UGV technology, Oshkosh is offering advanced automotive features such as electronic stability control, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking assist and electric power assist steering, which can be fielded today to improve fuel economy and operator safety during missions. April 2013 | COTS Journal

25


TECH RECON Embedded Computing in Unmanned Ground Systems

UGV Requirements Push Evolution in HPEC Performance As unmanned ground vehicles integrate more complex functions such as vision, comms, autonomous navigation and weapons management, new innovations are needed in High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC). Mike Jones, Rugged Systems Product Manager ADLINK Technology

A

s modern warfare changes, so must the technical innovations from global defense sector technology partners. The changing face of military engagements, fewer troops on the ground, more use of reconnaissance gathered via autonomous vehicles, real-time feeds to operations and the emergence of network-centric warfare are driving the solutions and applications needed to better support today’s warfighter. At their core, today’s battlefield engagements depend on access to and the ability to share complex, real-time data with battlefield commanders, who in turn can push select information all the way down to the front-line warfighter. As warfare adjusts to incorporate more types of autonomous vehicles, including those discussed in the Unmanned Ground Systems Roadmap developed by the U.S. Army’s Robotics Systems Joint Project Office (RS JPO), there are new challenges. There’s a need to further reduce SWaP while maintaining a standards-based footprint, while also providing High Performance Embedded Computing (HPEC) with flexible sensor I/O. All that demands a quantum leap in engineering 26

COTS Journal | April 2013

Figure 1

The SMSS is an autonomous ground vehicle that can carry up to a half-ton of squad equipment and can be remotely operated via satellite to perform autonomous operations such as follow-me, go-to-point and retro-traverse. innovation. Autonomous ground mobile computing requirements are calling for ve-

hicle operating functions such as vision, communications and autonomous navigation, in parallel with support for pay-


TECH RECON

AMAS Functional Block Diagram Environmental Sensing and Communications Inputs -”A” Kit

Z-By-Wire Outputs − Platform Specific “B” Kit

Vision System

Warnings/Displays

Radar/Lidar System

Autonomy HPEC Tele-op Controller - “A” Kit

Brake Control

Nav/GPS System

Remote/Tele-op Controller

Steering Control

Radio Communications

Throttle Control

• Route Planning • Target selection/ODOA • Intelligent Behaviors • Safety/Diagnostics & Prognostics

Payload Devices “C” Kit

Vehicle State Sensors Inputs − Platform Specific “B” Kit Emergency Stop

Command, Cntrl, Alarms

Throttle Position Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Detection Weapons Manipulators

Steer Angle, Yaw Rate Wheel Speed, Brake Sensor Longitude + Lateral Acceleration

Figure 2

With AMAS technology, autonomous operation is achieved using a combination of multiple sensors, onboard processing, drive-by-wire functionality and additional payload control.

AMAS Notional System A-Kit (HPEC) A-Kit Level N Sensor N

Sensor 5 Sensor 4 Sensor 3

Operator Interface (Warnings, Displays, Inputs)

B-Kit

Other Intel. Processing

Comms Backplane

A-Kit Level 3 Autonomous Navigation

Comms Backplane

A-Kit Level 2 Leader/ Follower

Comms Backplane

A-Kit Level 1 Tele-Ops Processing

Comms Backplane

Sensor 2 Sensor 1 Sensor 0

C-Kit (HPEC)

CAN

IED Detection Weapons Manipulators

Other Actuation Safety Aux Vehicle Enable Functions Safety Transmission Enable Actuation Safety Steering Enable Actuation Safety Brake Enable Actuation Safety Throttle Enable Actuation CAN BUS Safety System Safety Enable

Vehicle Control Unit (HPEC) CAN

Pose Estimation Inertial Sensors GPS Wheel Speed

Figure 3

Separating functions into kits as described with AMAS technology is a good approach to the future growth of HPEC in UGVs.

28

COTS Journal | April 2013

load functions such as custom sensor input or weapons management. Those needs place a high burden on the current crop of rugged HPEC offerings. Will the answer be more custom-fit proprietary solutions, a mix of smaller dedicated processors, or the evolution of standards to meet the needs of an autonomous vehicle future? The optimistic answer is that the evolution of technology standards, COTS and engineering innovation will help usher in the age of vehicle autonomy in all forms of military engagements.

Real World Robotic Systems Today’s UGVs are either tele-operated by a remote human driver, or run semi-autonomously. At this stage of UGV development, there is a range of capability for autonomous operation. For example, the UGV can either be slaved to another human-operated vehicle in a convoy scenario, or follow a tracking beacon or geographic waypoints using onboard sensors, GPS and computing power to guide progress. HPEC can play a big role in the evolution of autonomous capabilities as they head toward full independence. In addition, the needs of payloads, such as Improvised Explosive Detection (IED) devices, will become ever more sophisticated. Autonomous operation will need situational awareness provided by payload computing as UGVs become fully autonomous. To support progress toward full autonomy, the U.S. Army’s RS JPO has developed a functional plan for multiple types of UGVs, including multiple classes of vehicles and unmanned ground vehicle platforms. Specifically, the classes known as self-transportable and appliqué will have the most influence over the HPEC evolution. The RS JPO’s Unmanned Ground Systems Roadmap was created with key technology enablers for UGV growth over time. Some of these enablers will have a unique evolutionary/revolutionary HPEC requirement, especially as applied to the sub-segments of autonomous navigation, power, vision, architecture and payload support. To keep pace with that roadmap, HPEC solutions will soon require performance upgrades beyond what is available today. Within the


TECH RECON

UGV self-transportable and appliqué classes there are specific programs with unique capability sets that require technology enablers in order to adhere to the roadmap. These programs include: Project Workhorse: A UGV program deploying in Afghanistan that involves a self-transportable utility platform in the form of the Army-sponsored Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) from Lockheed Martin (Figure 1). The SMSS is an autonomous ground vehicle that can carry up to a half-ton of squad equipment and can be remotely operated via satellite to perform autonomous operations such as follow-me, go-to-point and retro-traverse. The SMSS sensor suite integrates Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), infrared (IR) and a color camera. The vehicle can lock-on and follow any person by identifying his 3D profile captured by the onboard sensors. The SMSS can autonomously navigate through a preprogrammed route using GPS waypoints. Evolution of this class of UGV will require improvements in onboard computer power consumption and more and better sensor integration, while also providing equal or higher computing muscle with a reduced detectable emission signature. Convoy Active Safety Technology (CAST): Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) in the form of an addon or appliqué retrofit kit to virtually any existing manned vehicle, permitting a wide range of autonomous behavior. Capabilities range from remote operation to driver assist to fully autonomous driving and navigation. The AMAS will be produced using a common open architecture and delivered in multi-kit form: an “A-Kit,” which is the universal brain; a “B-Kit,” which contains the vehiclespecific sensors, aggregation and connectors; and the “C-Kit,” which is oriented toward payload management. With the AMAS, more processing means more autonomous capability; to meet the scale of expected demand, the kits should be delivered in a smaller, standard footprint and take advantage of standardized connections, lowering system costs. A common need across programs is the function of autonomous operation and payload support. For the AMAS

technology illustrated in Figure 2, autonomous operation is achieved using a combination of multiple sensors, onboard processing, drive-by-wire functionality and additional payload control. While these programs are currently underway, the Army’s RS JPO technology roadmap demands enhanced capabilities for future revisions of these programs that support a number of technology efforts. This includes the integration of

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higher definition IR cameras, more onboard image enhancement for visible spectrum cameras, future integration of both visible and IR data in real time and more camera/sensor inputs that can support higher bandwidth. Also needed is algorithm support for object detection and avoidance, intelligent object detection and tracking, stereographic imaging and processing—eventually reaching object identification. HPEC computing support

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TECH RECON

Figure 4

The HPERC is a sealed, rugged COTS computing platform incorporating industry standard technology and long-life processing architecture. is needed for those efforts, along with integration of multi-sensor payloads such as IED detection, weapons management,

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manipulators and sensor cross-cueing. Along with that, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a desire for future common, standards-based architecture

for UGV computing (per the RS JPO and its Interoperability Initiativeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;currently at IOP v.0). For UGVs to achieve improved autonomous operation, the technology roadmap calls for progress in sensor capabilities in terms of input speed, multiple sensor data aggregation, real-time data processing and results dissemination to the controller subsystems. With the sensor requirements and payload-specific support, such as side-looking radar for IED detection, the demand on a single HPEC solution is great. In addition, the push for open standards across the entire scope of product architecture will drive adoption of less proprietary physical hardware, connectivity and software solutions, thus creating the potential for more competitive, interchangeable and evolutionary options.

Imaging and Payload Technology Computing requirements in UGVs are being driven by imaging used in support of machine vision and the advent of complex payloads for IED detection. There

3/26/13 12:42 PM


TECH RECON

are military UGV programs that need an ability to perform autonomous navigation during the day, as well as the night. They require the ability to navigate in stealth mode (where perception sensor energy is not emitted). Using a pair of Thermal Infrared (TIR) cameras, stereo ranging and terrain classification can be performed to generate an annotated map of the terrain. TIR is a convenient option, since a single TIR camera may already be a part of the sensor suite of many vehicles. A HPEC is provided to analyze the thermal image data and perform the terrain mapping. For the evolution of autonomous operation relying on TIR offered in UGVs, the image processing that is critical to control functions like autonomous navigation will need to increase as the sensor data streams increase. To achieve useful machine vision, a camera sensor fusion will likely include IR, color CCD and LIDAR capability in a single turret3. Each of these cameras will operate between 15 to 60 fps and can today generate uncompressed 516 Mbits/second of image data per camera, growing to 1.3 Gbits/second and finally

meds1301_rtec_ad.indd 2

3.48 Gbits/second. Camera data might not be compressed at the source, so as not to degrade the level of image processing that can be rendered by the HPEC interfaced using the RS-170 or RS-422 video signal standard. As data rates increase, CameraLink, GigEVision or CoaXpress will replace the above interfaces. The RS JPO roadmap calls for new obstacle and collision avoidance algorithms, which rely heavily on recursive calculations best done on GPGPUs or specialized FPGAs. For example, recent research done for UAV image processing using GPGPU-based algorithms4 has shown a 99.5% increase in performance over running the same algorithm on an Intel CPU. In all cases, the GPGPU rendered the results in under 50 msec4. Given a fully autonomous vehicle scenario where a human operator is not involved and vehicle operation decisions must be made in realtime at speed, having an HPEC equipped with GPGPU capability that can correlate all the inputs and successfully execute the mission is imperative. Hence the use of multiple types of higher definition

cameras running at a higher resolution; higher bandwidth will drive the design of rugged HPEC computing that supports future UGVs.

Specific IED-Focused Requirements A complete anti-IED payload system requires an IED-detection component, an IED-assessment component and an IEDdefeat component. The payload processing must be accomplished in real-time to achieve the desired level of safety for the UGV and its mission. As with autonomous navigation and machine vision, the real-time detection of the changes in the data coming from the detector components will require a large amount of either GPGPU or FPGA processing. Today, a divide and conquer approach is used to separate vehicle control, sensors and payload processing. Separating functions into kits as described with AMAS technology is a good approach to the future growth of HPEC in UGVs (Figure 3). For example, a fully autonomous vehicle with a payload of

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TECH RECON

ground penetrating radar could not execute all of its processing tasks with a single HPEC solution. By subdividing the problem into compute and function nodes, a scalable long-term solution emerges. Having standards for the UGV solutions that regularize the HPEC physical box size, supported I/O and connector types will enable interchangeability and evolution as HPEC solutions grow and change.

Standards and Engineering Innovation Evolving UGV requirements need raw processing speed and execute algorithms that are highly recursive, creating the need to have HPEC solutions that combine generic COTS Intel CPU processing and a closely coupled GPGPU into a single solution. As mentioned, the RS JPO is promoting the use of standards in the fielding of UGV solutions. Feeding that need, current market 3U and 6U VPX provide rugged HPEC solutions. Emerging standards in smaller footprint HPEC solutions in-

clude the VITA Technologies standard known as VITA 75. VITA 75 takes a fundamentally different approach from other small form factor standards in that it concentrates on the physical box, a set of standard enclosures dimensions, connectors and I/O pin assignments, rather than on specifying the individual computer modules inside. VITA 75 solutions are especially well-suited to address UGV HPEC requirements, as they provide designers with a set of standardized footprints that are generally smaller than equivalently equipped OpenVPX 3U or 6U solutions, while also offering a standardized connector scheme that allows for subsystem interchangeability at the vehicle level and provides for evolution of the vehicle’s subsystem in a predictable fashion. ADLINK’s HPERC (High Performance Extreme Rugged Computer) system is typical of this type of VITA 75 solution (Figure 4). HPERC provides a solid foundation of Intel i7 processing closely coupled to either an embedded NVIDIA or ATI GPGPU, as well as a wealth of cam-

era and vehicle data bus and I/O support. This solution can readily provide the necessary image processing and I/O required for UGV applications both today and in the future.

UGV Challenges Ahead UGVs represent a force multiplier for ground forces. The challenges of true autonomous operation and adequate payload support represent a clear direction for HPEC. If the aggressive roadmap for UGVs is to be realized, a common, standards-based HPEC architecture must emerge and evolve. ADLINK, along with fellow embedded platform vendors, is working to define and develop according to industry standards in order to meet the SWaP requirements for HPEC systems of the future and meet the demanding requirements of UGV and other programs that benefit the warfighter. ADLINK Technology San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech.com].

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Journal | April 2013

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SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Advances in Smart Munitions and Small UAV Payloads

Smart Munitions and Small UAVs Wrestle with SWaP Hurdles As the demand for greater precision and intelligence increases, smart munitions and small UAV platforms need the most efficient low-power computing technology to meet today’s needs. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief

S

mart munitions and small UAV payloads both share an increasing appetite for highly integrated, lowpower embedded computing. Selecting the right embedded electronics and embedded computers in those systems becomes a make or break decision. Many of the missiles and munitions are precision guided with the technical sophistication to allow guidance corrections during flight-to-target. Meanwhile, some programs include non-explosive articles that enhance the performance of other munitions. Like smart munitions, the control and payload electronics aboard small UAVs—like the Raven, Integrator, Shadow and Wasp—face some of the most rigorous size, weight and power restrictions. At the same time, new small UAV platforms and upgraded versions of existing platforms are in the process of testing and development. UAV system developers strive to enhance UAVs with ever more autonomy and more powerful sensors.

Successful SBD II Tests Raytheon’s Small Diameter Bomb (SBD) is an example of a munition that relies heavily on sophisticated embedded 36

COTS Journal | April 2013

Figure 1

The SDB II uses multi-mode seekers and fully networked enabled data links to engage moving targets in bad weather or battlefield obscurants.

intelligence for its operation. The SDB II’s integrated tri-mode seeker, which is built in Raytheon’s automated tri-mode seeker factory, fuses millimeter-wave (MMW) radar, uncooled imaging infrared (IIR) and semiactive laser sensors on a single gimbal, which enables the weapon to seek and destroy targets, despite adverse weather conditions. Rockwell Collins supplies Raytheon with the data link, while General Dynamics-Ordnance and Tactical Systems provides the multi-effects warhead.

Last summer, the Raytheon SDB II program achieved a major milestone when it successfully engaged and hit a moving target during a flight test at the White Sands Missile Range, NM. Currently in engineering and manufacturing development, SDB II is designed to engage moving targets in adverse weather and through battlefield obscurants. During the test, the crew of a U.S. Air Force F-15E fighter jet staging out of Holloman Air Force Base, NM, released the GBU53/B, which then acquired, tracked and guided to a moving target using its trimode seeker, scoring a direct hit. According to Raytheon, SDB II is the first in the next generation of smart weapons that use multi-mode seekers and fully networked enabled data links to engage moving targets in bad weather or battlefield obscurants in high threat environments (Figure 1). SDB II is designed to give warfighters a mission-flexible weapon capable of defeating threats such as swarming boats, mobile air defense systems or armored targets. SDB II was validated by the Department of Defense’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council as a weapon that fills a critical capability gap for the military. In


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Figure 2

The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile - Extended Range is an autonomous, air-to-ground, precision-guided standoff missile. It shares the same powerful capabilities and stealthy characteristics of the baseline JASSM, but with more than two-and-a-half times the range. addition to its adverse weather, movingtarget capability, SDB II can hit targets from stand-off ranges. SDB II’s capabilities include the ability for the weapon to be employed in three primary attack modes, each with a subset mode, for a total of six engagement modes. A dual band, two-way weapon data link for inflight target updates and status reporting allows post-launch control of the weapon by the launching aircraft, a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), or a third party.

Extended Range Upgrades Meanwhile, a new version of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, called the JASSM-Extended Range (JASSM ER), has passed some milestones. JASSM-ER is an autonomous, air-to-ground, preci38

COTS Journal | April 2013

sion-guided standoff missile designed to meet the needs of U.S. warfighters (Figure 2). It shares the same powerful capabilities and stealthy characteristics of the baseline JASSM, but with more than twoand-a-half times the range. While the JASSM ER looks the same and provides all the capabilities of the baseline missile, it has a new engine and larger fuel load capability. This allows it to extend its range to more than 500 nautical miles, compared to the old system’s range of 200 nautical miles. This additional reach allows aircraft to deploy JASSM-ER against high-value, well-fortified, fixed and relocateable targets, while remaining clear of highly defended airspace and long-range surfaceto-air missiles. Like the original JASSM, the new missile uses its inertial naviga-

tion and global positioning systems to find its intended target, then its infrared seeker for pinpoint accuracy right before impact. The cruise missile is able to operate in heavily degraded GPS environments. Even without GPS, the JASSM can find its target due to its internal sensor. Last summer the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron completed the final-phase of operational testing for the JASSM-ER, marking a significant step toward operational employment. The 337th TES is scheduled to complete the final live JASSM-ER flight test Aug. 30 with the B-1 Lancer, the missiles’ threshold aircraft and premier platform for JASSM employment. Like the baseline version, JASSMER will be capable of employment on the B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. But the B-1 is


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SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

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The Integrator Block 2 sports an improved sensor turret, which includes the latest mid-wave infrared sensor with onboard image stabilization and helps imagery analysts see objects of interest more clearly during day and night missions. with other modular enhancements, such as laser sensors. The wings were first integrated with the Boeing JDAM during the Commonwealth’s Capability and Technology Demonstration program, which successfully completed flight tests in 2008.

Imaging Payload for Small UAVs Shifting to developments in Small UAVs, a number of upgrade, test milestones and payload developments have occurred over the past six months in this fast moving area of technology. Last fall, QinetiQ North America (QNA) announced successful demonstration of its Small Multi-Spectral Imager (sMSI) during its first flight test in Imperial County, CA. QNA’s sMSI is a compact, lightweight, low-power camera that supports a variety of applications, such as improvised explosive device detection, camouflage detection and oceanographic/environmental sensing (Figure 4). The sMSI is the latest innovation in QNA’s long history of developing and integrating MSI cameras onto a variety of platforms and systems. In the demo flight, the sMSI correctly identified all targets from various altitudes up to 3,000 feet, including simulated land mines, disturbed earth, cam-

ouflage and electrical wire targets. The demonstration was conducted to verify the sMSI’s ability to discriminate and identify various targets from specific altitudes, and to assess the custom 55 millimeter optical system’s performance. Test altitudes were 400, 1,200 and 3,000 feet, consistent with mission altitudes for small UAVs. One sMSI with a normal field of view and one sMSI with a wide field of view were flown simultaneously, along with a standard electrooptical camera for comparison. Three real-time multi-spectral processing modes were used to determine which modes work best for each type of target. The team’s next step will be to conduct new flight tests with the sMSI integrated onto UAVs to prepare for real-world mission support.

Integrator Block 2 Test Flight One of the most advanced Small UAV platforms is the Integrator UAS. Three years ago Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing, got the STUAS Tier II contract from Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) for its Integrator unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Earlier this year, Insitu announced the successful first flight of Integrator UAS Block 2, the latest technology release of the system.


SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT

The nearly two-hour flight occurred at the company’s flight test range in eastern Oregon and was conducted using Insitu’s Common Open-mission Management Command and Control (ICOMC2) ground control station. ICOMC2 enables flight of multiple heterogeneous UAS and enables U.S. and NATO member nations to jointly support military operations through a STANAG 4586-compliant system. The flight completed with the current Mark 4 Launcher and SkyHook recovery

systems that support expeditionary missions and rapid troop movement. This technology configuration offers a suite of upgrades for superior intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Integrator Block 2 allows customers to expand operations with an extended upward temperature limit of 120°F. Integrator Block 2 also implements multiple system reliability improvements, including the option to power with either JP8 or JP5 fuel. An improved sensor tur-

ret, which includes the latest mid-wave infrared sensor with onboard image stabilization, helps imagery analysts see objects of interest more clearly during day and night missions (Figure 5).

Tier II VTOL Development UAS manufacturer AeroVironment— traditionally a leader in the man-portable, hand-launched UAS market—has taken aim at a particular segment of small UAVs called the Tier II Vertical Takeoff and Landing Unmanned Aircraft System. The U.S. DoD segments the numerous types of unmanned aircraft systems they employ by size, weight, endurance and range into different tiers. Man-portable, handlaunched systems that weigh less than 20 pounds comprise the Tier I segment. Tier II UAS include heavier, larger and longer endurance systems with longer range, such as CybAero’s VTOL offering. In December AeroVironment inked a strategic relationship with Sweden-based CybAero AB to develop and distribute a Tier II vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system in response to unmet requirements from multiple customers. The relationship gives AeroVironment exclusive rights to provide CybAero AB systems to United States customers and to government customers in NATO and other countries. AeroVironment has agreed to purchase up to $3 million in convertible notes from CybAero to facilitate the company’s growth. AeroVironment Monrovia, CA. (626) 357.9983. [www.avinc.com]. AAI Hunt Valley, MD. (410) 666-1400. [www.aaicorp.com]. Insitu. Bingen, WA. (509) 493-8600. [www.insitu.com]. Rockwell Collins Cedar Rapids, IA. (319) 295-1000. [www.rockwellcollins.com].

Untitled-1 1 COTS Journal | April 2013 42

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TECHNOLOGY FOCUS Small Non-Standard Boards

Non-Standard Boards Target Function over Form Meeting the unique needs of space-constrained systems including small UAVs, robotics, missionspecific handheld systems, intelligent munitions and many others, small nonstandard boards have carved out their own niche in the military market. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief

T

he growing demand for small non-standard form factor boards shows no signs of waning. In fact, it’s picking up steam as the magic of semiconductor integration translates into more functionality in very small board footprints. Embedded board vendors continue to roll out products and product lines of nonstandard products. This trend isn’t restricted to the military embedded market segment—industrial, automotive and communications segments are likewise expressing keen interest in this phenomenon. At first glance, it would seem that the notion of non-standard implementations f lies contrary to the military’s usual preference in past years for standards and open architecture form factors. Standard form factors are attractive because such architectures offer some defense against the vendor or its product going away, becoming obsolete. Well-established standards—such as PC/104, VME or CompactPCI—opened the door for a 44

COTS Journal | April 2013

Figure 1

Platforms suited for non-standard embedded computers include small UAVs, like the Puma. The Puma is able to operate autonomously providing persistent ISRT (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting) data. variety of similar products based on a standard architecture, easing the difficulties of replacing a board. In contrast, non-standard approaches will face the tricky issues of obsolescence—driving a need for customers to keep coming back to the same supplier for new or upgraded systems rather than finding another source. But in very small systems, the size and space of the board takes precedence over the need for standards, with the priority instead on squeezing as much functionality and compute density onto a single board solution. Non-standard boards aren’t taking any market share away from established standards such as VME, CompactPCI or PC/104. The non-standard boards seem to be targeting very different applications areas—areas where slot-card backplane or PC/104 stacks wouldn’t

be practical. These applications are characterized as extremely space- or weight-constrained or where traditionally only a fully custom solution would do the job. Unmanned air and ground vehicles (Figure 1), missionspecific heldhand systems, and even intelligent munitions are examples along those lines. The “Small Non-Standard Boards Roundup” on the next four pages shows a diverse sampling of non-standard architecture products now available. As the Roundup illustrates, non-standard boards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. A majority of them are small embedded solutions in form factors the size of credit cards or DIMM-sized modules or the like. Others take a twist on existing standards—such as ATX or PC/104—to produce a “one off ” implementation that takes some of the benefits a standard form factor—diverging slightly from it to enable added functionality or to reduce overall board size. Also interesting is the mix of companies that make up this sampling of non-standard board vendors. Like their products, these companies seem to come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes—although there appear to be two extremes. On the one hand are the small vendors that have grown up on a couple of families of non-standard architectures. At the other extreme are familiar faces in the embedded board business, such as Kontron and General Micro Systems. Each of these vendors is well known for playing in a variety of standard form factors—such as VME, CompactPCI, ETX and PC/104—and have ventured into the non-standard form factor space.


TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: Small Non-Standard Boards Roundup 3.5-Inch SBC Combines Atom E6xx CPU and 1 Gbyte DRAM

3rd Gen Intel Core i7 Quad Processor Rides 3.5-Inch SBC

Solution Offers Jumpstart to x86 Developer Community for APUs

Acrosser Technology offers a 3.5-inch SBC, the AR-B6051, which carries the Intel Atom E640 and E620. Acrosser takes advantage of the Atom E6xx series in design, such as low power consumption and small footprint. AR-B6051 supports DDR2 memory and capacity is 1 Gbyte. Based on embedded concept, AR-B6051 has a variety of I/O like 4 x serial port, 4 x USB, 2 x GbE and Mini-PCIe expansion. It offers the CF socket that embedded customers used to use

ADL Embedded Solutions has announced its new 3rd generation Intel Core Ivy Bridge 3.5inch SBC. The ADL3GQM67HDS incorporates 3rd generation Intel Core Quad and Dual Core socketed processors with Intel’s new HD4000 graphics engine. Platform features include mini-PCI and PCIe expansion ports, support for up to 16 Gbytes of DDR3 DRAM and video

With the introduction of a small development kit, a group of four companies has launched GizmoSphere to foster innovation and development for x86-based embedded accelerated processing units (APUs). APUs integrate a CPU and a graphics processing unit (GPU) on the same piece of silicon.

and 1x SATA interface for the customers who have large storage capacity needs. There is a Mini-PCIe expansion slot for customer’s expansion. AR-B6051 also supports the CAN Bus function that is widely used in industrial applications. AR-B6051 has completed Acrosser’s SBC product line with a 3.5-inch small form factor. AR-B6051 has two CPU options, AR-B6051E62 and AR-B6051E64. For entry level, developers can choose ARB6051 series. For more CPU computing power and fanless design, developers can choose ARB6050, which is based on an Intel Atom N450 1.6 GHz.

ports including DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and VGA. Extended temperature operation of -40° to +85°C with ADL Embedded Solutions’ thermal solutions is also available. The ADL3GQM67HDS is ideal for rugged and extended temperature applications where high multicore processing performance is critical. It brings unparalleled performance to applications such as Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS), military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), radar and sonar processing, image signal processing and tactical command and control.

GizmoSphere is an independent initiative created to meet the open source development needs of embedded developers around the globe. GizmoSphere offers the Gizmo Explorer Kit, which brings the powerful 52 GFLOP computing and the I/O capabilities of a microcontroller to the x86 open source embedded development community in one integrated, affordable package. The collective goal of GizmoSphere—as constituted by Advanced Micro Devices, Sage Electronic Engineering, Texas Multicore Technologies and Viosoft—is to drive and enable technology projects of interest to independent developers with a focus on stimulating and encouraging innovation for existing and new applications that leverage APUs. At the heart of GizmoSphere is Gizmo, a 4-inch by 4-inch x86 development board available with coreboot that can run a variety of operating systems including Android, Linux, RTOSs and Windows. The Gizmo board is offered as part of a comprehensive development kit for only $199, a price that includes the development board, an I/O expansion board and development tools.

Acrosser USA Cypress, CA. (714) 903-1760. [www.acrosser.com].

Advanced Digital Logic San Diego, CA. (858) 490-0597. [www.adl-usa.com].

Advanced Micro Devices Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 749-4000. [www.amd.com].

46

COTS Journal | April 2013


Small Non-Standard Boards RoundUp

RISC SBC with ARM-Based Cortex-A8 Series Processor

Qseven Starter Kit Offers Quick Way to ARM-Based Designs

Conduction-Cooled SBC in EMX Form Factor Sports Atom E680T

A RISC-based single board computer uses the latest Texas Instruments OMAP35 Series Processor. The PCM-C3500 from Advantech has a CortexA8-based TI OMAP35 600 MHz high-performance application processor with mobile DDR. It supports OpenGL ES 1.1 & 2.0, OpenVG 1.0 and Direct 3D. The PCM-C3500 video also supports D1 resolution directly. Advantech PCM-C3500 series units are

A new Qseven Starter Kit provides developers with a complete package to rapidly prototype embedded systems for ARM designs. Thanks to their compact size and extremely low power, Qseven embedded computer modules based on ARM architectures are a good solution for virtually any low-power or ultra-mobile embedded PC application. To minimize the development costs of such systems, congatec has combined all the necessary components in a

A rugged EMX Basic single board computer (SBC) is based on the Intel Atom E680T CPU running at 1.6 GHz, and features dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, four serial ports and four USB 2.0 ports. The Altair from Diamond Systems is also the first SBC to implement the new EmbeddedXpress (EMX) stackable I/O standard. EmbeddedXpress is a new form

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technologies and kit. companies. Whether your goal factor specification for embedded computers comprehensive starter The kit’s centerpiece designed for low power consumption around into products, is to research latest datasheet from a company, speak directly introduced by Diamond Systems that defines is thethe new conga-QMX6 Qseven module, 2W (3W maximum). These heatsink-free with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the based on the Freescale i.MX6 ARM Cortex designs are suitable for various low-power an efficient stackable I/O expansion. The EMX goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. A9 processor. The module has an ingenious applications. specification enables flexibility, scalability and Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, 3D-capable high-end HD graphics interface In addition to supporting Windows increased longevity in the final product by Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products with extremely low power consumption. Embedded CE 6.0, Embedded Linux 2.6you and providing interchangeable processor modules. are searching for. The integrated graphics core is designed for Android (on a project-by-project basis), the Altair supports 1 Gbyte or 2 Gbyte of DDR2 www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected multimedia applications featuring a video PCM-C3500 Series supports Advantech’s DRAM soldered on board and provides highprocessing unit (VPU), 2D and 3D graphics SUSIAccess, a set of software APIs that reduce resolution LVDS and VGA graphics interfaces. (GPU2D/3D), four shaders with up to 200 project development effort, enhance hardware Additional I/O ports include SATA, USB, serial, MT/s (million triangles/second) plus dual platform reliability and shorten time-todigital I/O and dual Gigabit Ethernet. Flexible stream with 1080p/720p. The available graphics market. SUSIAccess also provides an easy system expansion is based on stackable EMX interfaces include HDMI v1.4 and 18/24-bit upgrade path as functions are continuously modules and a PCIe MiniCard socket. A socket dual channel LVDS with a resolution of up to providing added and improved. is also provided Get Connected with technology and companies solutions nowfor an optional onboard USB 1920x1200 (WUXGA). The off-the-shelf evaluation kit provides flash disk of up to 8 Gbyte. Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research th The starter kit also includes the flexible a complete design environment with full Altair’s rugged features include a wide datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connect Qseven evaluation carrier board, congatechnical documentation. In addition to thein touch with temperature operating range of -40° to +85°C, the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, QEVAL, matching 12Vthe power adapter. OS-ready platform, Advantech provides anGet Connected memory, willand helpayou connect with companies and productssoldered-on you are searching for. plus dedicated locations With the supplied cable set, it takes just application-oriented support package, complete on the PCB to replace configuration jumpers www.cotsjournalonline.com/ge minutes to build a compact demo system. The with testing and evaluation capabilities, which with 0-ohm resistors for resistance to shock and conga-QEVAL is easy to integrate and offers minimizes development effort. The evaluation vibration. Conformal coating is also available as multiple interfaces including five USB ports, a kit includes: the OS-ready, RISC-based COM/ an added cost option. Single unit pricing starts Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI, 18/24-bit LVDS SBC; the LCD kit (with LCD, touchscreen, at $795. and a PCI Express socket. For the connection etc.); test cables; power adaptor and accessory Diamond Systems of mass storage devices, 1x SATA and SD card package; and a CD-ROM (with system upgrade/ Mountain View, CA are integrated on the baseboard. The Qseven maintenance utilities, SDK, system test utility, (800) 367-2104. module itself provides a microSD socket, user manual and COM design guide). and as an optional extra, eight gigabytes of [www.diamondsystems.com]. Advantech soldered solid state drive (eMMC) for robust Irvine, CA. applications.

Products

(949) 789-7178. [www.advantech.com].

Congatec Diego,and CA. Get Connected with San companies products featured in this section. (858) 457-2600. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected [www.congatec.com].

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47


Small Non-Standard Boards RoundUp

Atom-Based Rugged SBC Is iPhone-Sized

ARM-Based Module Rides ULPCOM Form Factor

New ESMini COM Features 1.6 GHz Atom at 5 to 7W

For many of today’s military applications, it’s all about compute density. Feeding that need, General Micro Systems (GMS) has developed an Intel Atom-based rugged SBC that offers unbelievably low power consumption. Combined with its exceptionally small footprint and high performance, the Atom XPC40x (extended temperature, conduction-cooled) and Atom XP40x (standard temperature) satisfy the intense demand for an ultra-small computer with full-size processing power.

A new ultra-low-power, low-profile ARMbased Computer-on-Module is specifically designed to extend the proven and scalable Computer-on-Modules-based usage model to new modules with ARM and SoC processors. The ULP-COM-sAT30 from Kontron offers a low-profile solution that measures 82 mm x 50 mm and integrates the Nvidia Tegra 3 Quad Core ARM 1.2 GHz technology. The combination of the low-power Nvidia Tegra 3

An ultra-small Computer-on-Module (COM) features an application-specific carrier board and a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor. The compact size of the semi-custom MM2 from MEN Micro, only 95 mm by 55 mm, combined with the Intel Atom E600 series processor and an EMC-proof enclosure, makes the board suitable for industrial, harsh, mobile and mission-critical environments with high

Easily accommodating 64 Gbytes of storage via onboard solid-state disk in its miniature 3.5 x 2.5 x 0.5-inch package, Atom is the world’s smallest full-featured rugged computer. It boasts 533 MHz DDR-2 SDRAM and is powered by a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor that provides 512 Kbytes of cache. With full laptop functionality, Atom offers high-performance graphics with 3D acceleration, and includes five USB-2.0 ports and support for two Express Mini Cards for Wi-Fi, CanBus or other user I/O. The Atom XPC40x is designed to operate at -40° to +85°C with a maximum thermal gain of only 5°C above ambient. Because of its heat tolerance, it is ideal for applications where ambient temperature is high, such as a controller located in an engine compartment or for small robots and UAVs working in extreme temperatures. The Atom, with its exceptionally low power consumption/dissipation (3W average, 10W peak), imposes little to no impact on the user, eliminating many inherent problems with wearable computers. Pricing starts at $1,295 for the conduction-cooled XPC40x and $695 for the standard-temperature XP40X in single quantities.

ARM processor and ULP-COM’s optimized ARM/SoC pin-out definition enables designers to build fanless, passively cooled systems that dramatically reduce power consumption and costs of deployed systems. The ULP-COMsAT30 is based on the new module standard Ultra Low Power Computer-on-Module (ULPCOM). The Kontron ULP-COM-sAT30 uses a 314-pin connector (MXM 3.0), which enables an extremely low profile solution with board-to-board separation as low as 1.5 mm and an overall height as low as 5.7 mm. This connection method contributes to designs that have an extremely thin construction height. The ULP-COM-sAT30 also offers superior, high-end graphics support with dedicated interfaces for dual displays with HD video decode including MPEG2, HD video encode, ultra-low-power Nvidia GeForce GPU with dual display controllers, and 2D and 3D acceleration. In addition, flexible display support is provided for parallel LCD 18- / 24-bit, LVDS single channel 18-bit / 24-bit (18-bit compatible), as well as dual channel support for 24-bit LVDS and HDMI. Plus, Kontron’s new ARM-based module delivers camera support via its 2x (dual lane) CSI-2 camera ports.

graphics requirements in small spaces. These include avionics, railway, agricultural or construction machines, medical engineering and industrial automation applications. The Atom processor offers a total power consumption of 5W to 7W maximum and high I/O flexibility using the PCI Express standard for the processor-to-chip interface. In addition to operating in environments from -40° to +85°C, the new MM2 ESMini provides multiple I/O options to meet a wide range of specific end user requirements. Supporting both serial and legacy I/O, the board offers two PCI Express x1 links, LVDS and SDVO for graphic interfaces as well as high-definition audio, Ethernet, SATA, USB, two I2C, CAN bus and COM interfaces. MEN Micro’s new MM2 module can accommodate up to 2 Gbyte DDR2 SDRAM of directly soldered main memory with mass storage media supported on the carrier board. Each processor includes 512 Kbyte of L2 cache. The rugged, compact COM comes with a realtime clock and board management controller for temperature and power supervision. Every MM2 module comes equipped with rugged, industry-proven connectors supporting high frequency and differential signal connections. Conformal coating is available upon request. Pricing for the MM2 ESMini module is $805.

General Micro System Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (909) 980-4863. [www.gms4sbc.com].

48

COTS Journal | April 2013

Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

MEN Micro Ambler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [www.menmicro.com].


Small Non-Standard Boards RoundUp

Low-Cost SBC Simplifies Instrument Control The PDQ Lite from Mosaic Industries is a low-cost single board computer and development board that hosts the Freescale HCS12/9S12 MCU and an embedded RTOS. This GNU C-programmable instrument controller is well suited for data acquisition and control, PWM drive, I2C sensor interfacing, instrumentation and automation. A compact

Embedded Platform Speeds Development of Qseven-Based Systems A new embedded platform is designed for the fast development of embedded systems with Qseven modules. The MSC Q7-MB-EP4 platform from MSC Embedded is designed to support the latest version (1.20) of the Qseven specification, and offers system integrators a ready-to-use carrier board with added functionality and I/O flexibility for easy

3.5-Inch SBC Serves Up Intel ULV N2600/D2700/N2800 and DDR3 WIN Enterprises has announced the MB80410, a 3.5-inch SBC featuring a choice of Intel N2600, D2700 or N2800 processors (formerly code named Cedarview). The device features the Intel NM10 Express chipset, a lead-free, halogen-free 17x17 mm single package that is 85% smaller than the two device chipsets used in the prior generation. This enables more compact system-level solutions. MB-80410

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customization. technologies and companies. Whether your goal is designed for OEM solutions where both 2.5 x 4-inch board, this simple SBC provides all into products, The is to research theMSC latestQ7-MB-EP4 datasheet fromembedded a company,platform speak directly compact size and low power consumption the I/O of the Freescale MC9S12A512 processor provides a broad of the interfaces with an Application Engineer, or jumprange to a company's technical page, the are desirable. DDR3 SO-DIMM provides chip, including dual logic-level and standard commonly used such goal of Get Connected is to put in youembedded in touch withapplications, the right resource. maximum memory of 2 Gbytes for the Intel RS-232 serial ports, 10-bit resolution analog as a dual Gigabit LAN, five USB 2.0 ports (four Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, N2600 and N2800 processors and up to 4 inputs, I2C, dual SPI links, PWM and timerexternal), header), an AC97 Get Connected will help an youRS-232 connect (pin with the companies and products Gbytes with the D2700 processor. Seven USB controlled digital I/O. The PDQ Boardyou Liteare is searching audio for. port and Serial Advanced Technology ports are provided, as well as a Mini-PCIe slot. powered by +5 volts delivered via one of the Attachment (SATA) interfaces. CAN signals www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected The board is based on an Intel Atom N2600/ I/O headers or from a standard micro-USB are also available via a special pin header. D2700/N2800 processor. 18/24-bit Single/ connector, the same type used on many cell An RS-232 Debug port for a console output Dual channel LVDS is supported. I/O includes phone chargers. simplifies Linux software development, which one Mini PCIe, five COM ports (COM1 port The PDQ Board Lite contains an embedded is especially important for MSC’s Qseven by D-SUB 9 pin), RS-232/422/485, COM2 and RTOS in firmware and is programmed using modules using ARM technology. The platform COM4 ports. Operating temperature is 0° to an open-source C integrated development supports the industrial temperature range of 70°.solutions now environment (IDE). The Mosaic IDE+ is Get Connected and companies -40° to +85°C.with Thetechnology compact Qseven module isproviding a comprehensive GNU environment that mounted via proven MXM connection on the Get Connected is a anew resource for further exploration into products, and companies. Whether your goal is to research th WINtechnologies Enterprises simplifies the coding of any multitasking of thespeak MSCdirectly Q7-MB-EP4 baseboard,Engineer,North datasheetsolder from aside company, with an Application or jumpAndover, to a company's MA.technical page, the goal of Get Connect application and allows users to edit, compile,in touch with the right resource. Whicheverconnect level of service you require for whatever type of technology, making it easy to thermally the Qseven 688-2000. download, interactively debug and run Get Connected will help you with the companies and products(978) you are searching for. heat spreader to aconnect metal enclosure and provide application programs. Pricing starts at $99.00 [www.win-ent.com]. fanless heat dissipation. Pricing for OEM www.cotsjournalonline.com/ge for quantity 1. quantities starts at $160.

Mosaic Industries, Inc. Newark, CA. (510) 790-8222. [www.mosaic-industries.com].

MSC Embedded San Bruno, CA. (650) 616-4068. [www.mscembedded.com].

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April 2013 | COTS Journal

49


Products

COTS

Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

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3U cPCI Serial Processor Board Suits High-Speed Applications

As part of its High-Speed CompactPCI Initiative, Kontron has announced its first 3U CompactPCI Serial (CPCI-S.0) processor Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. board. The Kontron CPS3003-SA comes equipped with 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processors and offers PCI Express Gen 3.0, www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. USB 3.0, SATA 6G and Gigabit Ethernet over backplane. Kontron’s new CompactPCI Serial processor board is available in www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected multiple versions and scalable from the 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7-3517UE processor to the quad-core Intel Core i7-3612QE. For memory-hungry applications, it offers up to 16 Gbytes of ECC DDR3 SDRAM. The Mobile Intel QM77 Express chipset already provides numerous interfaces by default, so that the processor board delivers a high performance density in the smallest of spaces. The whole spectrum of serial point-to-point interfaces is accommodated in just three units of height: peripheral boards, which are especially data-intensive, can be connected via two PCI Express Gen 3.0 fat pipes with x8 or x4 lanes. Additionally, five PCIe x1 lanes are available. Hard disk carriers can be connected via four SATA ports, two of them via SATA 6 Gbit/s ports. Plus, there are two USB 3.0 as well as six USB 2.0 ports routed to the backplane. For networking purposes, there are two Gigabit Ethernet ports, which can be routed to the front panel or to the backplane. Additionally, OEMs are presented with two additional USB 2.0 ports and two DisplayPort connections on the front. Furthermore, the CPS3003-SA provides the option to offer rear I/O via the P6 connector, which adds two USB ports (1x USB 3.0 and USB 2.0), a third independent DisplayPort and two serial ports.

Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

Tactical Mobile Router Brings High Bandwidth to the Battlefield

Dual Channel PC/104 CAN Module Provides 1000V Isolation

General Dynamics Canada has introduced its next-generation Tactical Mobile Router, the TMR 200, a compact, modular and flexible router that can be easily configured and integrated in a variety of platforms and wireless networks. With the ability to handle highbandwidth applications, it ensures reliable and secure communications even where wireless network infrastructures do not exist or when nodes are overloaded or off the network. It is ideally suited for tactical environments where network and vehicle electronic architectures are becoming more complex with high-definition cameras and sophisticated sensors streaming gigabits of information. Engineered specifically for in-field communications, the TMR 200 allows defense and public safety personnel, mobile command centers and central commands to share high-bandwidth applications such as situational awareness information or battle management applications, along with critical voice and data. The TMR 200 offers the advanced networking features needed to interconnect with a vehicle’s electronic architecture and command, control, communication, computing and intelligence (C4I) systems. In addition, it can easily interface with other systems to enable remote control of communication devices in a tactical mobile network.

WinSystems has introduced their PCM-CAN-2-ISO, a PC/104compliant, dual channel, isolated Controller Area Network (CAN) module with Windows and Linux drivers available. The board employs high-speed isolated data couplers and power supplies to provide 1000V protection between the two NXP SJA1000 CAN controllers and the network interface. This makes the module ideal for operation in highvoltage renewable energy, high-speed control, or unpredictable vehicle applications, while it maintains low EMI and low-latency operation. Each CAN channel can provide isolated +5 VDC power or receive isolated +5 to +12 VDC power from the interface for additional flexibility. The +5 VDC power supply includes overvoltage, overcurrent and short-circuit protection. The PCM-CAN-2-ISO is compliant with CAN specifications 2.0A (11-bit ID) and 2.0B (29-bit ID). The PCM-CAN-2-ISO supports transfer rates to 1 Mbit/s and has jumper selectable termination resistors so it can be used in various topology systems. WinSystems offers this board in other off-the-shelf configurations. The PCM-CAN-2 is a dual channel, non-isolated unit. The PCM-CAN-1 is a single channel, non-isolated unit. The PCM-CAN-1-ISO is a single channel, isolated unit. Special OEM configurations are possible. All configurations will operate over the industrial temperature range of -40° to +85°C. The isolated dual channel, PCM-CAN-2-ISO, lists for $269; and the non-isolated dual channel, PCM-CAN-2, lists for $229.

General Dynamics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (613) 596-7000. [www.gdcanada.com].

WinSystems, Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [www.winsystems.com].

Coaxial Resonator Oscillator Operates from 5580 to 5685 MHz Crystek’s new CVCO55CXT-5580-5685 Coaxial Resonator Oscillator (CRO) is a coaxial-based VCO with an internal proprietary frequency doubler. The CVCO55CXT-5580-5685 operates from 5580 to 5685 MHz with a tuning voltage range of 0.3 VDC to 4.7 VDC. This coaxial VCO features a typical phase noise of -102 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset and has good linearity. The CVCO55CXT-5580-5685 CRO exhibits an output power of 0.0 dBm typ. into a 50 ohm load with a supply of +5.0 VDC and a current consumption of 30 mA (max.). The CVCO55CXT-5580-5685 CRO is packaged in the industry-standard 0.5-in x 0.5-in package. Pushing and Pulling are both minimized to 1.5 MHz/V and 0.5 MHz, respectively. Second harmonic suppression is -30 dBc typical.

Crystek, Ft. Myers, FL. (239) 561-3311. [www.crystek.com]. 50

COTS Journal | April 2013


COTS PRODUCTS Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

3U OpenVPX Sports Virtex-7 FPGA Alpha Data has released of a lineand of products VPX products the ADM-VPX3-7V2, a highGet Connected with companies featured featuring in this section. performance reconfigurable 3U OpenVPX format based on the Xilinx Virtex-7 range of Platform www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected FPGAs. 3U VPX cards offer an ultra-rugged and compact form factor loaded with I/O that can operate at over 10 Gbit/s. Most importantly, VPX utilizes a standardized control and data flow architecture supported by vendors around the world letting the designer utilize every square inch of the latest, largest FPGAs on the market. The ADM-VPX3-7V2 features include a built-in PCI Express Gen2 interface with DMA, optional PCIe Gen3 interface to the user FPGA, external memory, high-density I/O using a Vita 57 high Pin Count FMC interface, Gigabit Ethernet Interface, system monitoring and flash boot facilities. A Rear Transition Module (RTM) is also available to accelerate development by providing monitor and control access to all rear (backplane) I/O signals. In addition to the ADM-VPX3-7V2, Alpha Data offers three ready-made VPX solutions that are two-part assemblies comprised of a 3U VPX carrier card and a modular XMC FPGA mezzanine card. The ADA-VPX3-7V1, the ADA-VPX3-7K1 and the ADAVPX3-6T1 feature XRM front I/O adapters, two mSATA sites and 1000Base-x Ethernet.

Alpha Data, Denver, CO. (303) 954-8768. [www.alpha-data.com].

Rackmount RF/IF Signal Recorders Offer 4 Gbyte/s Streaming

SIGINT and radar systems have a seemingly endless appetite for higher bandwidth and more accuracy. Along just those lines, Pentek has announced rackmount additions to its Talon RF/IF signal recording and playback systems. The Model RTS 2707 rackmount system, and Model RTR 2747 rugged rackmount system, offer recording and playback of RF/IF signals up to 700 MHz with signal bandwidths up to 200 MHz. The systems feature 500 MHz 12-bit A/ Ds or 400 MHz 14-bit A/Ds and an 800 MHz 16-bit D/A. Pentek’s SystemFlow software allows turnkey operation through a graphical user interface (GUI), while the SystemFlow application programming interface (API) allows easy integration of the recording software into custom applications. The RTS 2707 is configured in a 4U 19-inch rackmountable chassis with up to 20 hot-swappable magnetic hard drives for up to 20 terabytes of real-time data storage space, front panel USB ports and I/O connectors on the rear panel. The RTS 2707 is best suited for commercial applications requiring high-data storage capability. The RTR 2747 is configured in a rugged 4U 19-inch rackmountable chassis, with up to 24 hotswap solid state drives (SSDs) with combined capacity to 11.5 terabytes, front panel USB ports and I/O connectors on the rear panel. The fast read/write speeds of the SSDs allow the RTR 2747 to sustain 4 Gbyte/s recording rates across the full storage capacity. Because SSDs operate reliably under conditions of shock and vibration, the RTR 2747 performs well in ground, shipborne and airborne environments. The drives can be easily removed or exchanged during or after a mission to retrieve recorded data. The RTS 2707 and RTR 2747 start at $39,995 and $49,995, respectively.

3rd Gen Intel Core i7 Quad Processor Rides 3.5-inch SBC ADL Embedded Solutions has announced its new 3rd generation Intel Core Ivy Bridge 3.5inch SBC. The ADL3GQM67HDS incorporates 3rd generation Intel Core Quad and Dual Core socketed processors with Intel’s new HD4000 graphics engine. Platform features include mini-PCI and PCIe expansion ports, support for up to 16 Gbytes of DDR3 DRAM and video ports including DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and VGA. Extended temperature operation of -40° to +85°C with ADL Embedded Solutions’ thermal solutions is also available. The ADL3GQM67HDS is ideal for rugged and extended temperature applications where high multicore processing performance is critical. It brings unparalleled performance to applications such as Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS), military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), radar and sonar processing, image signal processing and tactical command and control.

ADL Embedded Solutions San Diego, CA. (858) 490-0597. [www.adl-usa.com].

Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [www.pentek.com].

Low Cost SBC Simplifies Instrument Control The PDQ Lite from Mosaic Industries is a low-cost single board computer and development board that hosts the Freescale HCS12/9S12 MCU and an embedded RTOS. This GNU C-programmable instrument controller is well suited for data acquisition and control, PWM drive, I2C sensor interfacing, instrumentation and automation. A compact 2.5 x 4-inch board, this simple SBC provides all the I/O of the Freescale MC9S12A512 processor chip, including dual logic-level and standard RS-232 serial ports, 10-bit resolution analog inputs, I2C, dual SPI links, PWM and timercontrolled digital I/O. The PDQ Board Lite is powered by +5 volts delivered via one of the I/O headers or from a standard micro-USB connector, the same type used on many cell phone chargers. Pricing starts at $99.00 for quantity 1.

Mosaic Industries, Inc., Newark, CA. (510) 790-8222. [www.mosaic-industries.com]. April 2013 | COTS Journal

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400W Quarter Brick DC-DC Converter Delivers 400W Murata Power Solutions has announced the availability Get of theConnected RBQ series ofwith isolated 12Vout, wattfeatured DC-DCinconverters. companies and 400 products this section. The RBQ-12/33-D48 model provides what are believed to be the industry’s highest efficiencies of up to 96% from a standard www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected DOSA-compliant quarter-brick package. The RBQ-12/33-D48 is designed to operate in most applications with convection cooling. The RBQ-12/33-D48 can operate from a standard telephone network voltage (TNV) network supply of 36 to 75 VDC around a nominal 48 VDC. The RBQ-12/33-D48 will reliably deliver 33A/400W at 60°C with 200 LFM airflow. Optional features include a load sharing option for higher power or N+1 applications, conformal coating for harsh environments, positive and negative on/off control logic and optional pin lengths to accommodate various application board thicknesses.

Murata Power Solutions, Mansfield, MA. (508) 339-3000. [www.murata-ps.com].

1U Power Supplies Offer Wide-Adjust Output and Single Output

Portable Data Acq System Targets Rugged, Remote Environments

Announced today by Acopian, is the availability of new options to enhance the functionality of its Low-Profile Family of AC-DC and DC-DC Power Supplies. Boasting a height of only 1.7 inches, the ULrecognized, CE-certified low-profile family consists of 1U format 720W single-output AC-DC and DC-DC and 750W wide-adjust output ACDC and DC-DC models. The high power density and flexibility of the models ensure minimal power loss in end-use equipment, thereby facilitating higher reliability and easier thermal management. Both the 720W singleoutput and 750W wide-adjust output AC-DC and DC-DC models are now optionally available with a thermostatically controlled fan, which runs at reduced speed until maximum speed is required, along with an output blocking protection diode for battery charging or redundant applications. Acopian’s LowProfile Family of AC-DC and DC-DC Power Supplies accept a wide input voltage range of 90-265 VAC (49-240 Hz) or 110-350 VDC. Standard pricing for Acopian’s low-profile models with nominal outputs from 3.3V/70A to 135V/15A is $775.00 each; wide-adjust models with outputs from 0-5V/70A to 0-135V/5A are priced at $800.00 each. New options are priced separately and range from $15.00 to $30.00 each.

A highly accurate transient recorder technology is now available in a portable, ruggedized system for in-the-field measurements. Available with up to 24 channels and sample rates up to 240 MS/s, the flexible TraNET PPC from Elsys Instruments enables precise data acquisition from multiple points simultaneously. The new system combines Elsys’ high-speed, LAN-controlled instruments with a robust industrial PC for flexible data acquisition in a number of harsh and mission-critical environments, including ballistics and explosive testing. The LAN connectivity enables reliable, standalone operation in remote applications as well, such as structural health verification on bridges and buildings, seismic activity monitoring or stray voltage detection from defective power lines. Channel configurations of 4, 8 and 12 are available in addition to the 24, depending on application needs. Each channel provides up to 128 Mbytes of acquisition memory. Different Elsys PCI/PCIe-compatible TPCX and TPCE digitizers comprise the heart of the TraNET PPC, depending on specific application needs. The modules offer a typical measurement precision of ±0.03% with transfer speeds of up to 2.5 Gbytes/s on the PCIe-compatible modules. Pricing for a TraNET PPC starts at $13,500.

Acopian, Easton, PA. (610) 258-5441. [www.acopian.com].

Elsys Instruments, Monroe, NY. (845) 238-3933. [www.elsys-instruments.com].

Rugged Box Computer Blends Modular I/O and Advanced Processing

MEN Micro offers the BC50I, expanding its line of rugged and modular box computers. The BC50I uses the low-power AMD processor that combines high computing capabilities with integrated graphics functionality. The new box computer can be used as an independent unit or can be designed with a display, making it useful in a variety of applications, including surveillance, vehicles and robotics. Because it is based on AMD’s Embedded G-Series, the BC50I is extremely flexible in design. Its highly scalable CPU comes in either single or dual core, and graphics parameters ranges from various Radeon GPUs to none at all, based on system requirements. The standard BC50I features an integrated 1.4 GHz T48N APU (accelerated processing unit) and an advanced Radeon HD 6310 GPU. Two DisplayPort interfaces, with a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 each, as well as two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 2.0 ports and two SA-Adapter slots for serial interfaces are available on the front panel—one of the SA-Adapters can be used as an optional CAN Bus interface. The front also features eight LEDs for power, status, Ethernet activity and user-defined purposes. Inside, the system features one PCI Express Mini card slot with a SIM card slot that enables WLAN, UNTS, GPS, GSM, HSDPA, EDGE or LTE. The necessary antenna connectors can be made available on the front panel. The BC50I is equipped with 2 Gbytes of DDR3 SDRAM and offers SD card and mSATA slots. A SATA hard disk/solid state drive can be installed within the housing as an option. The system operates without a fan in temperatures from -40° to +70°C, in part due to its special aluminum housing with cooling fins that serves as a heat sink for the internal electronics.

MEN Micro, Abler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [www.menmicro.com]. 52

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Subrack Enclosure Family Provides EMC, Compact and Mobile Styles Pixus Technologies Eurocard subracks for 3Uin and 6U boards in multiple configurations. Get Connected withoffers companies and products featured this section. The subrack enclosures can house backplanes or special modules. The subrack line features a www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected modular design, with extrusions and tapped strips in standard intervals allowing a wide range of configurations without customization. This significantly reduces development time and costs. The EMC version features gasketing and optional EMC covers. Compact versions of the enclosures are available in 42 HP and 21 HP sizes standard. The Mobile Rugged industrial subrack features reinforced components. The standard and EMC subracks also come in 4U and 7U sizes, with 1U of spacing below the card cage for fan implementation.

Pixus Technologies, Waterloo, Ont., Canada. (519) 885-5775. [www.pixustechnologies.com].

21.5-Inch Rugged Video Mission Display Supports High Definition

A rugged mission display for airborne platforms comes as a next generation video display with touchscreen and is designed for the most demanding helicopter and fixed wing applications. Featuring a wide array of digital and analog inputs, the AVDU5500 from Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Systems easily connects to the market’s leading electro-optical turrets, either directly or via any of Curtiss-Wright’s Skyquest VMS video distribution units. The AVDU5500 combines an array of video viewing options and visibility features. For example, the popular in-built “quad screen” option enables operators to view up to four independent live video images simultaneously from any of the multiple video sources sent to the display. The AVDU5500 uses advanced optical bonding techniques to ensure maximum visibility in bright sunshine conditions and improved ruggedness. As standard, the AVDU5500 utilizes a dual LED backlight for Night Vision Goggle (NVG) filtering purposes. When required, the display can be switched into NVG mode, which switches off the standard white backlight and turns on the NVG filtered backlighting, conforming to MIL-STD-3009 NVIS B. This gives the user full color, high brightness imagery usable with direct sunlight during daylight operations, as well as perfectly filtered imagery for NVG operations at night. All other display bezel lighting is also NVG filtered as standard. The AVDU5500 is designed to provide airborne operators with the greatest amount of flexibility and control. The display’s 5-wire resistive touchscreen can be customized to operate with any of today’s leading digital moving maps. A wide array of I/O options, including USB, Ethernet and RS422/232, enable the AVDU5500 to interface with peripheral equipment. Its eight “hard” bezel keys, located at the bottom of the display, control core display functions such as power on/off, brightness and channel selection.

Boundary Scan Bundle Suits Entry Level Use A special package is now targeted for beginners in JTAG/Boundary Scan or users with cost-sensitive projects. PicoTAP Designer Studio from Goepel Electronic is a complete boundary scan test system including hardware and software and offering an extremely reasonable price-performance-ratio. In addition to a Mixed Signal I/O module, the bundle contains the world’s smallest boundary scan controller, the PicoTAP, which is powered via USB and can be plugged directly into the I/O module. The hardware/software bundle contains a PicoTAP controller, a CION Module FXT-96/A and a SYSTEM CASCON Basic/SX Development Station. Because of the included CION I/O module, analog and digital peripheral ports can also be tested. Additionally, relays and Opto I/O are available to flexibly optimize test coverage.

Goepel Electronic Jena, Germany. +49 3641 6896 739. [www.goepel.com].

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, Ashburn, VA. (613) 254-5112. [www.cwcdefense.com].

Development Tools Includes Supercapacitor-Charged Demo Board Silicon Labs offers a diverse portfolio of Precision32 MCUs based on the ARM Cortex-M3 processor. The company’s complimentary Eclipse-based IDE and AppBuilder software for Precision32 MCUs includes tools that enable developers to estimate power consumption and receive configuration guidance to minimize system power. The Power Estimator tool gives developers a top-level graphical view of how a Precision32 MCU uses power in active and sleep mode. The tool enables developers to adjust power usage at the onset of a project even without having development hardware. In addition to the tools, Silicon Labs supplies a Low-Power SiM3L1xx development board: Roughly the same size as an ID badge, this compact development board showcases the power efficiency of SiM3L1xx MCUs. The board contains an ultra-low-power SiM3L1xx MCU, segmented LCD, supercapacitor, LED and photodiode sensor, debug interface and USB port.

Silicon Labs, Austin, TX. (512) 416-8500. [www.silabs.com]. April 2013 | COTS Journal

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PCI-104 Card Family Targets RS-232/422/485 Serial Comms

Get of Connected and products featured section. Combing the best PC/104 andwith PCI,companies the PCI-104 form factor fillsinathis unique need for compact, highperformancewww.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected embedded computing. Demand is high for I/O products that fit this form factor. Feeding that need, ACCES I/O Products has rolled out a family of PCI-104 serial communication boards—the 104I-COM-8SM Series. These PCI-104 boards feature a selection of 8, 4, or 2-ports of field selectable RS232, RS-422, and RS-485 asynchronous serial protocols on a port by port basis. Ports are accessed via two 40-pin IDC type right angle header connectors. The 104I-COM-8SM Series is feature-rich and allows for the connection of multiple serial devices—ideal for a variety of applications requiring the connection of RS232/422/485 serial devices to a PCI-104-compatible system. Each RS-232 port is capable of supporting data communication rates up to 921.6 Kbit/s and implement full modem control signals to ensure compatibility with a broad variety of serial devices. RS-422 and RS485 modes support data communication speeds up to 1.8432 Mbit/s. Based on the XR17D158, the boards have eight enhanced 16550-compatible UARTS and include 64-byte transmit/receive FIFO buffers to decrease CPU loading and protect against lost data in multi-tasking systems while maintaining 100 percent compatibility with all operating system COM port software. ACCES offers the 104I-COM-8SM, 4SM and 2SM in both standard and extended temperature versions ideal for military use. The 10I-COM-8SM family of boards is supported by all operating systems as standard serial ports. All boards include a free DOS, Linux and Windows XP/Vista/7-compatible software package with sample programs and source code in “C” and Pascal for DOS, and Visual Basic, Delphi, C# and Visual C++ for Windows. Also provided is a graphical option configuration program in Windows. An easy-to-use Windows terminal program simplifies verification of proper operation. Linux support includes installation files and samples for register-level programming in ‘C’. Prices start at $169, depending on model. ACCES I/O Products, San Diego, CA. (858) 550-9559. [www.accesio.com].

2U RAID Array Is NEBS Certified for Rugged Applications

Avionics XMC Module Saves Space, Weight, Power and Cost

A new 2U RAID array has been certified to Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) Level 3. The 12-drive array from One Stop Systems supports up to 48 Tbyte data storage using twelve 4 Tbyte SATA drives. It connects to the host server with either PCIe x8 or SASx4 connectivity. The chassis includes dual redundant 500-watt power supplies, two removable blowers for superior cooling, and a removable NEBS filter and filter cover. The RAID array boasts 2700 Mbyte/s data transfers from server to storage on a single PCIe x8 connection. A single SASx4 connection to the server provides 1900 Mbyte/s data transfers. PCIe is suitable for storage applications that require extremely fast read and write transfers. Because there is no software conversion from PCIe on the motherboard to another protocol, latency is reduced, providing extremely fast data transfers. Two SASx4 inputs cable from one or two servers to the two SAS connectors on the rear of the RAID array. Both can be input connections from two servers or one can be an input and the other an output to connect another RAID array, thereby doubling the storage capacity and increasing the performance. The 2U RAID array lists for $5,899 and is available immediately.

A multi-protocol embeddable avionics module is specifically designed to save valuable space, weight and power as well as deliver greater costeffectiveness and higher reliability in avionics labs, simulators and embedded applications. Featuring both MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429 protocols on a single XMC form factor board, the RAR15-XMC from GE Intelligent Platforms is used in a broad range of avionics applications. Featuring advanced API software for Windows 7, Vista, XP (32- and 64-bit), Linux, Integrity and VxWorks that reduces application development time, standard features of the RAR15-XMC include 8 Mbytes of RAM and 64-bit message time tagging. Also featured are extensive BC and RT link-list structures, error injection/ detection, automatic/manual RT status bit and mode code responses, along with advanced BC functionality. The RAR15-XMC bus monitors provide superior error detection and 100% monitoring of fully loaded buses. Four dual-redundant MIL-STD-1553A/B Notice II channels, ten ARINC 429 receive channels and eight ARINC 429 transmit channels are provided by the RAR15-XMC. Onboard firmware and large data buffers, together with the advanced API, contribute to a very high level of flexibility in monitoring and generating ARINC bus traffic.

One Stop Systems, Escondido, CA. (877) 438-2724. [ www.onestopsystems.com].

GE Intelligent Platforms, Huntsville, AL. (780) 401-7700. [defense.ge-ip.com].

PCI Express Card Provides 16 Reed Relay Digital Outputs The 8003e PCI Express digital I/O interface from Sealevel Systems provides 16 Reed relay outputs. The outputs provide highquality, long-life, dry contact switch closures suitable for low-current applications up to 10VA. Reed relays are normally open and close when energized. The board is PCI Express X1 compliant and is compatible with any PCI Express slot. Sealevel SeaIO Classic software drivers and utilities make installation and operation of the 8003e easy using Microsoft Windows or Linux operating systems. Software for standard PCI boards will also work with PCI Express boards, simplifying your transition to this next-generation PCI bus.

Sealevel Systems, Liberty, SC. (864) 843-4343. [www.sealevel.com]. 54

COTS Journal | April 2013


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EN50155-Compliant DC-DC Converters Design for Harsh Environments A new family of board mount DC-DC converters been developed for railway applications. Get Connected with companies and products featuredhas in this section. The VQB100R and VHB150R series modules from CUI are designed to comply with the EN50155 www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected standard, which specifies input, EMC, mechanical and environmental requirements. The internally potted and encapsulated design provides increased system reliability through added protection from environmental factors such as dust, moisture shock and vibration. The DC-DC converters provide a 3:1 input range of 66~160 VDC and output voltage options of 5, 12 or 24 VDC. They are designed to deliver a case operating temperature range of -40° to 100°C and provide 2250 VDC I/O isolation. The VQB100R and VHB150R series are priced starting at $119 in quantity 100.

CUI, Tualatin, OR. (503) 612-2300. [www.cui.com].

3U OpenVPX JPEG 2000 Codec Module Offers Flexible Configuration

A 3U OpenVPX JPEG 2000 Codec module comes in a compact, rugged form factor and is powered by a Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGA and two JPEG 2000 compression engines. Flexible video configuration options (bitrate, frame rate and so on) allow the user to optimize the VCP-2864 from Creative Electronic Systems as needed. The VCP-2864 can be combined with the VCP-8166 H.264 / AVC compression / decompression XMC module to form a single-slot solution for JPEG 2000 and H.264 compression and decompression, as well as raw capture for HD video and still images. The VCP-2864 features multiple SDI input channels compatible with SD and HD signals. The video coding functionality provided by the VCP-2864 is designed to guarantee smooth real-time, low-latency coding up to HD formats. JPEG 2000 compressed video is available from the processor board via PCI Express (one channel if HD, two channels if SD). Input signals can be duplicated and non-compressed video is available via the PCI Express interface for real-time processing. Scaling down of frame rate, resolution, bitrate and frame cropping are programmable. The board can be configured either in capture / compression or in decompression / output mode. An XMC site is available for expansion with the VCP-8166 H.264 / AVC Codec XMC. The RTM-6487A0 Rear I/O Transition Module for Video Boards (3x micro HDMI, 8x SMB, 2x VGA, 1x CameraLink, 2x mini Stereo Jack, 1x RJ45, 1x mini USB) provides I/O options for the VCP2864. A standard element of the CES OpenVPX family, the VCP-2864 is compatible with the other 3U VPX boards from CES, including the ETS-8227 multi-protocol switch, the RIOV-2440 single board computer and the FIOV-2310 FPGA processor board. The module has options for air-cooled and conduction-cooled operating environments.

FPGA-Based Ethernet Card Ethernet Features “Anything I/O” A general purpose FPGA-based programmable industrial I/O card provides a 100 BaseT Ethernet host interface. The MESA 7I80HD from Mesa Electronics is a low cost, general purpose, FPGA-based programmable I/O card with 100 BaseT Ethernet host connection. The 7I80HD uses 50-pin I/O connectors with interleaved grounds and I/O module rack compatible pinouts. The 7I80 is compatible with all of Mesa’s 50-pin daughter cards. Open source FPGA firmware configurations are provided for hardware step/ dir generation to 25 MHz, PWM generation, analog servo control, absolute (SSI and BISS) and incremental encoder counting, real-time remote I/O, timing, event counting and highspeed serial communication. The 7I80HD is available with two FPGA sizes, a XC6SLX16 (the 7I80HD-16) and a XC6SLX25 (the 7I80HD-25). Quantity hundred price of the 7I80HD-16 is $108; the 7I80HD-25 is $122.

Mesa Electronics Richmond, CA. (510) 223-9272. [www.mesanet.com].

Creative Electronic Systems, Geneva, Switzerland. +41.22.884.51.00. [www.ces.ch].

Visualization Tool Enhancements Simplify Defect Detection New enhancements to the CodeSonar software architecture visualization tool from Grammatech include a new tree map view designed to allow users to easily see the hierarchical structure of the code in a very information-dense form. The view uses colorization to show the density of defects in modules so users can easily identify the most problematic parts of the code. The call graph is organized by module structure. Users can drill down to see a greater level of detail, choose different layouts such as treemap, circuit, cluster, flow, radial and other layouts, and attach persistent notes to the diagram. With CodeSonar visualization, users can start at individual functions to gain insight from a bottom-up perspective, annotate nodes and edges with additional information, and overlay the visualization with information on defects and source-code metrics.

Grammatech, Ithaca, NY. (607) 273-7340. [www.grammatech.com]. April 2013 | COTS Journal

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ADVERTISERS INDEX Get Connected with technology and companies providing solutions now Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for.

www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected Company Page# Website

Company Page# Website

ACCES I/O Products, Inc....................14..................................www.accesio.com

One Stop Systems, Inc........................43................... www.onestopsystems.com

Acromag..............................................29................................www.acromag.com

Parvus Corporation.............................13...................................www.parvus.com

Ballard Technology, Inc........................5.............................www.ballardtech.com

Pentek, Inc...........................................60................................... www.pentek.com

Chassis Plans, LLC.............................15....................... www.chassis-plans.com Get Connected with companies and

Phoenix International...........................4.................................www.phenxint.com Get Connected

End of Inc..........................21........................... Article Amphion Forum 2013.........................57...................... www.amphionforum.com Pelican Products, www.pelicanoem.com Products products featured in this section. CompactPCI Boards & I/O Boards Gallery................................................. 34, 35 www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

Pico Electronics, Inc...........................39..................... www.picoelectronics.com www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected

Data Bus Products Corp......................42...................www.databusproducts.com

RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc.......2.......................................... www.rtd.com

Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc.......59..................................www.xes-inc.com GE Intelligent Platforms, Inc................7..................................defense.ge-ip.com Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

Schiebel Corporation..........................37.................................. www.schiebel.net Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. www.cotsjournalonline.com/getconnected Sealevel Systems, Inc.........................32.................................www.sealevel.com

Innovative Integration..........................17.......................www.innovative-dsp.com

SynQor................................................41...................................www.synqor.com

Intelligent Systems Source.................31......www.intelligentsystemssource.com

TeleCommunication Systems, Inc......30............................www.telecomsys.com

Kontron................................................33................................. www.kontron.com

Trenton Systems, Inc...........................45..................... www.trentonsystems.com

North Atlantic Industries, Inc..............27........................................www.naii.com

WinSystems, Inc.................................23...........................www.winsystems.com

Ocean Server Technology, Inc............40.........................www.ocean-server.com

Z Microsystems, Inc............................20...................................www.zmicro.com

Index

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with companies mentioned in this article.

COTS Journal (ISSN#1526-4653) is published monthly at 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673. Periodicals Class postage paid at San Clemente and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COTS Journal, 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673.

Coming Next Month Special Feature: Military Vehicle Computing and Comms The DoD and U.S. Army continue to rethink and revamp their plans for next-gen vehicle requirements, and that will necessitate rethinking previously planned electronics. Onboard communications and control electronics are still expected to multiply in sophistication for both next-generation and Current Force fighting vehicles. But in the short term, tech upgrades of existing vehicles will be the dominant activity in this space. Articles in this section explore the latest requirements and how these changes may be influenced by technology and the latest products available. Tech Recon: 10 Gbit Ethernet and PCI Express Fabrics in Board and Box-Level Systems Ethernet is becoming entrenched as a favorite data plane interconnect fabric in compute-intensive applications like sonar, radar or any application that networks sensor arrays together. But PCI Express has inherent advantages that make it better for control functions than Ethernet. This section updates readers on the product and technology trends driving board-level Ethernet switch products and explores how system designers can benefit from the marriage of Ethernet and PCI Express with embedded computing form factors like VPX, VXS, Compact PCI Express, MicroTCA and AMC. System Development: SSDs, Memory Modules and Storage Architectures As military systems continue to rely more and more on compute- and dataintensive software, the storage subsystem is now a mission-critical piece of the puzzle. This section examines the emergence of Ethernet and IP-based storage interfaces, while comparing how traditional interface schemes like SATA, Fibre Channel and SCSI are positioned these days. Rotating drives still offer the best density, but flash-based solid-state disks (F-SSDs) are able to operate under the harshest conditions. This section updates readers on high-density storage systems and provides a product album of representative drives. Tech Focus: FPGA Processing Boards As the signal processing capabilities of FPGAs continue to climb, board-level configurable computing solutions have grown to become key enablers for waveform-intensive applications like sonar, radar, SIGINT and SDR. Such systems have an insatiable appetite for more digital signal processing muscle. This feature section delves into the solutions available in this area and explores how theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re transforming military signal processing systems. 56

COTS Journal | April 2013


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COTS

EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Playing Technology Catch Up

T

here’s a truth about today’s military system design that readers like you are well aware of but non-technical decision makers are not. That is the reality that the great majority of functionality of today’s military platforms is implemented as software running on an embedded computer. This is a trend—or a shift—that’s been underway for decades. Take military aircraft for example. In the F-111 aircraft of 1970, only 20 percent of its system functionality was implemented as software running on embedded computers. In the F-16 of the 80s, software ran about 45 percent of its functions. And for advanced aircraft of today like the F-22 and F-35, that’s grown to 80 percent and more. That means the percentage of functionality provided by software over the past four decades has increased tenfold. In this era of budget constraints, the F-35 Lightning II becomes a bit of an elephant in the room. Traditionally called the Joint Strike Fighter, it is the DoD’s most costly aircraft acquisition. And the stakes for it are lofty. The program calls for fielding three aircraft variants for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and eight international partners. And it’s meant to replace hundreds of existing aircraft. The GAO recently released a report that takes a look at the progress of the F-35 program and the challenges of keeping it affordable. Although the 12-year-old program has had its troubles, it’s moving in a good direction according to the report. Manufacturing and supply processes are improving with metrics such as factory throughput, labor efficiency and quality measures all positive. Initial F-35 production overran target costs and delivered aircraft late. But the latest data shows labor hours decreasing and deliveries accelerating. One of the major challenges—and the one quite relevant to COTS Journal’s scope of coverage—is the software integration work ahead. As any embedded systems developer knows, it’s the integration phase that involves the most unpredictable variables and often takes much longer than expected. As one of the largest and most complex software development efforts in DoD history, the F-35 software implements capabilities such as sensor fusion, weapons and fire control, maintenance diagnostics, and propulsion. According to the GAO report, recent management actions to refocus the program’s software development activities and to implement improvement initiatives appear to be yielding results. That said, software is expected to continue to be a very challenging and high-risk undertaking for this program, especially for mission systems. The program’s software requirements have grown in size and complexity. It’s taken more time and effort than expected to write computer code, integrate it on aircraft and subsystems, conduct lab and flight tests to verify it works, and to correct defects found in testing. 58

COTS Journal | April 2013

While most software code for the F-35 has been developed, a substantial amount of integration and test work remains before the program can demonstrate full warfighting capability. Software capabilities are developed, tested and delivered in three major blocks, and two increments—initial and final—within each block. The status of the three blocks is in varying states so far. And by embracing new management strategies and automation processes, developers have been able to keep on schedule better than in the past. Program officials reported that the time span to fix defects has decreased from 180 days to 55 days. That has allowed the program to keep better pace even though the number of defects has increased. Meanwhile, the time it takes to build and release software to testing has decreased from 187 hours to 30 hours due to new automated processes. The contractor officials currently plan to broaden the assessment’s initiatives to other software development efforts, including logistics and training. A particular area where the most challenging work is still ahead for the F-35, is the development and testing of software-intensive mission systems. Mission systems are critical enablers of the F-35’s combat effectiveness, employing next-generation sensors with fused information from onboard and off-board systems—electronic warfare, communication navigation identification, electrooptical target system, electro-optical distributed aperture system, radar and data links. About 12 percent of mission systems capabilities are validated at this time—up from 4 percent about a year ago. For the mission systems, software hurdles were again the bottleneck. Problems included delayed software delivery, limited capability in the software when delivered, and the need to fix problems and retest multiple software versions. Further development and integration of the most complex elements— sensor fusion and helmet mounted display—lie ahead. Sensor fusion integrates data from critical subsystems and displays the information to the pilot. About 36 percent of the sensor fusion work was completed in software block 1. Final verification and closure of remaining fusion requirements through block 3 are not planned for completion until 2016. There’s no doubt that it’s been and will continue to be challenging for the DoD to accommodate the large budget cuts being asked of them. In such an environment, the huge costs of delays and poorly executed software development are a big deal. The F-35 program—massive in its scale and software complexity— shows that improvements are doable and that they help the bottom line. And now that software running on embedded computing hardware is the focal point of such systems, our industry’s role is more vital than ever.


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COTS Journal