Khronos and EMVA to explore embedded vision standards

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A standardisation initiative that will explore interest in creating open API standards for controlling embedded cameras has been formed by The Khronos Group, a consortium creating graphics and compute interoperability standards, and the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA).

Participants in the Embedded Camera API Exploratory Group will discuss requirements for new interoperability standards to accelerate market growth and reduce development costs in embedded vision.

If the exploratory group reaches significant consensus then Khronos and EMVA will work to initiate the proposed standardisation projects at the appropriate organisations.

All sensor and camera manufacturers, silicon vendors, and software developers working on vision and sensor processing are invited to participate in this initiative. Instructions for joining the group are here.

The group has been created in response to industry requests. Camera sensors are now being tightly integrated with image, vision and inferencing accelerators in self-contained systems. However, some feel that innovation and efficiency in the embedded vision market is becoming constrained by the lack of open cross-vendor camera control API standards.

A consistent set of interoperability standards and guidelines for embedded cameras and sensors could streamline deployment by manufacturers and system integrators.

The exploratory group will use Khronos’ framework for new initiatives in collaboration with the EMVA. Any companies, universities, consortia, 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 document describing the objectives and high-level direction of standardisation initiatives of value to the industry.

The group is expected to meet online over a period of several months starting on 25 March.

All 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.

If a scope of work is agreed, Khronos and EMVA will initiate the standardisation work at the most suitable host organisations or open source projects, using those organisations’ normal collaborative agreements and IP frameworks.

Many firms have indicated an interest in joining the group, including All3D, Almalence, AMD, Apertus, the Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance, 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, Baumer, MVTec, and Stemmer Imaging.

'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 organisations are working together to bring a meaningful quorum from diverse parts of the industry into this cooperative exploratory process.'

Christine Perey, interoperability and standards programme leader for the Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance, commented: 'Lack of API standards for advanced use of embedded cameras and sensors is an impediment to industry growth, collaboration and innovation. Enterprise AR customers and systems integrators or value added providers will benefit from greater clarity, open interfaces between modular systems and innovation in the component provider ecosystem.'

Laurent Pinchart, lead architect of Libcamera, said: 'The establishment of this exploratory group provides a great opportunity to connect with the Khronos Group, EMVA and industry partners to ensure that together we can create the best experience for embedded cameras on all Linux platforms. The Linux camera community has seen a need for standardisation and interoperability in the embedded camera space for more than a decade. We launched the Libcamera project two years ago to address that need, initiating an ambitious effort to reach out to the industry and improve Linux camera support for mobile, embedded and desktop systems. We are eagerly looking forward to actively participating in the exploratory group and deepening our collaboration with all the involved parties.'

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