Dev Kit Weekly: AMD Kria KR260 Robotics Starter Kit
May 19, 2023
Despite being the scary stuff of movies for a while, robotics technologies have been rising in popularity across fields from industrial to medical, and even consumer, for years. When you’re operating in factory environments, robotics and automation technology can be especially useful for maximizing efficiency and flexibility, and that’s precisely what the Kria KR260 Robotics Starter Kit from AMD was designed for.
The Kria KR260 kit, designed as a development platform for Kria K26 SOMs, is built around the EV variant of a Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, which includes a quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 and dual-core Arm Cortex-R5F, and blends real-time control with soft and hard engines for waveform, video, graphics, and packet processing. All of the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC devices also include a 16nm FinFET+ programmable logic, but what sets the EV variants apart is the inclusion of an H.264/H.265 video codec, which is capable of simultaneous encode and decode up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. It’s also worth noting that alongside that video codec is an Arm Mali-400MP2 graphics processing unit.
But back to the kit itself — one of the main highlights of this starter kit is the flexibility you get from the programmability. It features 256K system logic cells and 1.2K DSP slices, alongside 144 Block RAM blocks and an additional 64 UltraRAM blocks. There’s also 4GB of non-ECC DDR4 memory, 512 Mb of QSPI that functions as the device’s primary boot memory, and an SDHC card for secondary boot memory.
This kit is an instant-on robotics platform that features deterministic communication across internal networks and uses *the open-source Kria Robotics Stack (KRS) to enable ROS 2 hardware accelerated packages. You’ll also be able to leverage the kit’s time sensitive networking capabilities via two available TSN ports with built-in switches and time synchronization via Ethernet connection, which also supports converged data types and traffic classes.
As if that wasn’t enough, the starter kit also includes features like an SLVS-EC sensor RX connector, an SFP+ cage for 10GigE Vision, partner IP, and low-latency lightweight ISP — all to enable high-performance machine vision capabilities.
Now of course, when you’re working in industrial and automation settings, security is a primary concern, which the Kria KR260 starter kit addresses with use of the Zync UltraScale+ MPSoC hardware’s root of trust technology for secure boot, as well as Infineon’s TPM 2.0 to support measured boot. The kit is also rife with interface connectors, expansion headers, and other I/O options — such as the included RJ45 Ethernet ports, Wi-Fi adapters, and Pmod ecosystem — that enable sensor and network connectivity. While the kit doesn’t have a wide operating temperature range (0ºC to 35ºC), it does include a heatsink and fan to help regulate its temperature.
While the Kria KR260 Robotics Starter Kit is centered around ROS 2, an open-source suite of middleware for robotic software development, it also makes use of the capabilities found in AMD's Vitis Vision Library and Vivado Design Suite for machine learning application development.
In a nutshell, the Kria KR260 Robotics Starter Kit has a lot of elements, functions, and features that make it an excellent tool for roboticists and embedded developers to prototype robotics and industrial automation and control applications. If you’re interested in getting one yourself, they’re available on AMD's website for $349. Of course, if you’d rather save that money, you can also enter this week’s raffle, embedded below, for a chance to win this starter kit for free. Good luck!