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Exploratory Group to consider embedded camera and sensor API standards

The Khronos Group, an open consortium creating graphics and compute interoperability standards, and the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA), have announced the formation of an Embedded Camera API Exploratory Group.

Open to all at no cost, this new joint group will look to explore industry interest in the creation of open royalty-free API standards for controlling embedded cameras and sensors.

All participants will be able to discuss use cases and requirements for new interoperability standards to accelerate market growth and reduce development costs in embedded markets using vision and sensor processing and associated acceleration. If the Exploratory Group reaches significant consensus then Khronos and EMVA will work to initiate the proposed standardisation projects at the appropriate organisations.

The Embedded Camera API Exploratory Group has been created in response to industry requests at a time when camera sensors are being tightly integrated with image, vision and inferencing accelerators in self-contained systems.

As a result, innovation and efficiency in the embedded vision market is becoming constrained by the lack of open cross-vendor camera control API standards to reduce development and integration costs of multiple advanced sensors and cameras.

A consistent set of interoperability standards and guidelines for embedded cameras and sensors is seen as helping to streamline deployment by manufacturers and system integrators by enabling control of a wide range of camera sensors, depth sensors, camera arrays and ISP hardware to generate sophisticated image streams for downstream processing by diverse accelerators.

This Exploratory Group will use Khronos’ framework for new initiatives in collaboration with the EMVA. Any companies, universities, consortiums, open-source participants, and industry experts who are willing to sign an NDA are welcome to join, at no cost.

All participants will have an equal voice in exploring industry needs for, and benefits of, creating a consensus to develop a Scope of Work (SOW) document describing the objectives and high-level direction of standardisation initiatives of value to the industry. The Exploratory Group is expected to meet online over a period of several months starting on March 25, 2021.

All Exploratory Group discussions will be covered by a simple project NDA to encourage open discussions. The Group is open to all proposals and relevant topics but will not discuss detailed technical design contributions to protect participants intellectual property (IP). If a SOW is agreed, Khronos and EMVA will work to initiate the standardisation work at the most suitable host organisations or open source projects, using their normal collaborative agreements and IP frameworks.

Many industry leaders have already indicated an interest in joining the Exploratory Group, including ALL3D, Almalence, AMD, Apertus, AREA, Arm, Cadence, Codeplay, Collabora, EA, Facebook, Google, Holochip, HP, Huawei, LunarG, Mobica, NVIDIA, Oculus, OPPO, Qualcomm, RedHat, Texas Instruments, Ultraleap, and Valve from Khronos; as well as EMVA members and machine vision players such as Allied Vision, Basler AG, Baumer, MVTec, and Stemmer Imaging AG.

“Judging by the significant industry interest, the time seems right to organise an effort around identifying and aligning on the need for interoperability APIs for embedded cameras and sensors. This is a topic that is very relevant to Khronos as our acceleration APIs, such as OpenCL, SYCL, and OpenVX are often used to accelerate sophisticated sensor stream processing,” said Neil Trevett, Khronos Group president. “Our work is also very complementary to EMVA, and we are delighted that the two organizations are working together to bring a meaningful quorum from diverse parts of the industry into this cooperative exploratory process.”

Commenting Dr. Chris Yates, EMVA president, said, “Both the EMVA and the Khronos group have a well-established history of standardisation developments which enable industry to develop new products more simply, whilst ensuring friction is reduced in the market. This Exploratory Group is an excellent approach to understanding broader industry needs and will bring together many companies and views in an open forum.”

Author
Neil Tyler

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