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LG develops a chip that gives devices their own AI

May 17,2019
LG Electronics has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) chip that will be inserted into its consumer electronics goods, the company announced Thursday.

The AI chip contains a processor dubbed Neural Engine designed to function like a brain’s neural network, improving the data processing of its deep learning algorithm, according to LG.

Deep learning is an AI function that emulates the human brain’s processing of data.

LG has already sold AI consumer electronics goods like washing machines and air conditioners, but while the information processed by the previous AI models had to be sent to a cloud server to enable deep learning, the new chip allows the process to happen on the device.

“The AI chip will enable devices to process data more quickly and make it possible for the device to pull off more sophisticated functions,” said a spokesperson for LG. “For instance, a robot vacuum cleaner will be able to recognize the surroundings more clearly through its camera and better differentiate the objects that need to be avoided [and those that need to be removed].”

Built-in AI means the risk of having private data transmitted over the network is also reduced. It also means the device can access AI functions without being connected to a network.

The AI chip has the capacity to visually recognize users, location and space as well as the user’s voice and surrounding noise - assuming the necessary hardware is in place. Its ability to learn and process comprehensive data will enable the chip to provide customized AI services in different situations, according to LG.

The company says the AI chip can support image processing, which adjusts the visual distortion from wide-angle lenses and improves the image quality in dark locations. It also holds a three-dimensional Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) function.

SLAM is a technique that enables a device to automatically construct or update a map of an unknown environment while keeping track of its location within it. It is commonly used in mobile devices and drones.

LG plans to embed the chip into consumer goods ranging from robot vacuum cleaners to washing machines, refrigerators and air conditioners.

“LG Electronics’ AI chip has been designed to provide the optimized AI solution,” said Park Il-pyung, the company’s chief technology officer. Park explained that the chip is in line with the company’s goal to provide evolved technology that could raise the convenience of consumers’ lives.

LG’s AI chip was reportedly produced by Taiwan-based semiconductor manufacturer TSMC. When asked, the company remained vague on the exact production process, saying, “LG mapped out the AI chip, but it was manufactured by an external foundry.”


BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]