Abaco Announces Obox Evaluation Platform to Minimize Time, Cost and Risk of Developing Autonomous Military Platforms

March 27, 2019

A fully rugged (-40°C to + 71°C) enclosure houses customer-specified combinations of Abaco’s latest 3U VPX single board computers, FPGA/DSP subsystems and AI/GPGPU-enabled platforms to deliver up to 14 TeraFLOPS of computing power, together with high speed network switches. Scalable and flexible, the Obox has been specifically designed to capture the input from sensors – including Lidar, radar and cameras, integrated over Ethernet – and to drive actuators controlling velocity, trajectory and more. It enables the full range of autonomous operations, including detection, recognition, tracking, fusion, perception, planning, decision and effecting.

“We created the Obox to give customers the optimum head-start in developing autonomous platforms by providing a turnkey solution - pre-integrating the hardware and software on which to build – enabling them to focus faster on the specifics of the planned application rather than on the low level platform,” said Peter Thompson, Vice President, Product Management at Abaco. “By leveraging our expertise in hardware/software integration, customers will save time and money, minimize program risk and enable faster time-to-market and deployment.”

The Obox leverages best-in-breed COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) technologies, including Xeon® processors from Intel®; CUDA™-enabled GPUs from NVIDIA®; and FPGA technology from Xilinx®.

Software integration at the ground- and node layers offers the customers the benefit of pre-consolidating the image processing and neural network algorithms widely used in machine learning for autonomous vehicle applications.

Two ‘accelerator’ processors support the ability to run high performance neural network-based inference engines to perform tasks such as object detection and image segmentation of multiple video image streams and Lidar point clouds. Developers can utilize GPUs via NVIDIA’s Deep Learning SDK, or FPGAs via Xilinx’s ML suite.

The Obox is fully supported by Abaco’s powerful, flexible, easy-to-use AXIS software development environment. Of note is AXIS ImageFlex, which provides optimized visualization capabilities to combine video, Lidar, radar and other sensor information into one unified viewer application. It provides high performance algorithms for image transformation to correct for optical distortions in real-time and also to project the image for different viewpoints.

The OBox can optionally be leased, ensuring that it is regularly updated by Abaco with the latest revisions of hardware and software – again, minimizing customer time and effort.

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