Being the most disruptive technology of our time, artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into our day-to-day activities. From robotics to the healthcare sector and from transportation to the computing industry, AI has brought many remarkable changes. The incorporation of the internet of things (IoT) has provided us humongous amount of data. And it is a Herculean task to deal with such information. AI chips offer several methods, such as pattern recognition to analyze this data. Moreover, the chips could transform a simple speaker into a smart speaker and simple car into an autonomous vehicle with its Midas touch.
According to a research firm, Allied Market Research, global AI chips market is expected to garner $91.18 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 45.4% during the period from 2018 to 2025. The increased demand for smart homes and smart cities, rise in investments in AI startups, and the advent of quantum computing have boosted the growth of the AI chip market. Moreover, the “Silicon war” between the tech giants such as Facebook, Intel, and Tesla to launch the fastest computing and versatile AI chips have fueled the R&D activities in the market.
War of tech giants
The advent of AI chips has sparked a fight with the two leading and equally competent companies: Facebook and Amazon. In an attempt to transform everything from homes and cars to smart, could-computing enabled technology, the two moguls are in a war with each other to deliver the best AI chip. The two companies are not shying from investing a huge pile of money in the technology. However, they are not alone in the AI chip market–which has been dominated by Intel and Qualcomm.
And they are not the only companies that are about to launch novel AI chips. Apple and China’s favored child, Alibaba, has also increased investments to disrupt the existing buyer & supplier relationship in the AI chip market. Moreover, recently Tesla announced that it will enter in the AI chip market to develop self-driving AI chips. The list of competitors in the market becomes endless if we include unlimited startups that get funded by the tech giants.
A rise in AI chip startups
There were times when the novel products would launch only from the leading tech companies. However, the tables have turned in favor of startups. Today, startups offer novel technologies and ground-breaking ideas that could complement the existing products of tech giants such as Google and Facebook. In fact, it is expected that at least 45 startup companies are on the verge of disrupting the AI chip industry and about five companies have bagged more than $100 million from their investors. For instance, Venture capitalists invested more than $1.5 billion in the AI chip startup in 2017. Apart from that, startup Syntiant also announced the launch of two low-power neural-network accelerators for audio tasks, named as NDP100 and NDP101. The two chips could recognize sound patterns at power levels below 200 µW, enabling speech interfaces on an extensive range of devices. Moreover, the startup said that it would target next-generation chips in 2020.
Another emerging AI startup, Hailo Technologies, has announced that it is expected to bag investment worth more than tens of billions of dollars in the next decade. The company has focused on the edge devices and high-resolution sensory processing, which would help it to stand out in the AI chip market.
AI Chip for smartphones
The demand for smartphones is hitting the roof. On the other hand, the incorporation of AI for mobile application has just begun. This made the development of AI chips that are specially designed for smartphones inevitable. With the launch of iPhone X, Apple introduced a Neural Engine as a part of its A11 Bionic chip. Moreover, recent Huawei smartphone has Kiri 970 chip that has a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) and the Google Pixel 2 has a so-called AI-powered imaging chip. This is just a beginning. Soon enough, the novel AI chips would offer the unstoppable speed and redefine the specifications of smartphones.
The math is simple. As the size of the chip gets smaller, the more jobs and operations it can perform. For instance, the GPUs incorporated alongside CPUs are now the new heart and soul of smartphones that perform the heavy lifting for visuals, just so that CPUs can focus on important tasks and the user gets a seamless experience without any lags.
It is clear that whether you are a tech tycoon in Silicon Valley or just an emerging startup if you enter in the field of AI chips, you have to go toe-to-toe with every other existing company in the market. With the increasing hunger for high computing power and need for AI chips that are designed specifically for smartphones, there is a huge demand for AI chips in the future; and whoever will be able to fulfill would rule the computing market for sure!