Microchip Jumps on New CoaXPress Standard with Chips for Machine Vision

August 20, 2020 by Jake Hertz

CoaXPress 2.0—the communication standard for machine vision—is here. Microchip wasted no time to develop a family of devices to meet the new standard.

Machine vision is one of the most widely-used applications of artificial intelligence. Systems from autonomous vehicles to automated factory equipment benefit from it. At the heart of machine vision growth is the advent of the CoaXPress interface standard.


Example of a machine vision conveyor belt application

Example of a machine vision conveyor belt application. Image used courtesy of Robotics Tomorrow


Now, building off the release of CoaXPress 2.0, Microchip has announced a line of CoaXPress-compatible chips meant to facilitate the design of machine vision systems.


The CoaXPress Standard

CoaXPress technology is an open, high-speed, point-to-point serial communication standard for high-performance machine vision applications. Its value comes from the versatility it affords designers since it provides a method for connecting high-performance, high-resolution cameras to high-speed capture cards via standard 75 Ω coaxial cables.


CoaXPress 2.0 allows for faster transmission and less cabling

CoaXPress 2.0 allows for faster transmission and less cabling. Image used courtesy of Quality Magazine


The most recent version, CoaXPress 2.0, allows data transfer rates up to 12.5 Gbps for cable lengths of up to 40 m, and up to 40 Mbps for bidirectional communications. This standard factors in cable lengths in excess of 100 m while still providing real-time behavior with low-latency transmission.


MicroChip’s New Device Family

On the coattails of the CoaXPress 2.0 release, Microchip has released a family of devices they claim is the first to implement the standard. According to Microchip, the EQCO125X40 family significantly increases machine-vision processing throughput by enabling cameras and capture cards to transmit four to eight times faster than alternative solutions.

In addition, these devices enable four times the cable/link distance with much lower power and near-zero latency.


Typical CoaXPress implementation

Typical CoaXPress implementation. Image used courtesy Microchip


Another benefit of the family is that it eliminates the need for multiple channels by supporting 12.5 Gbps of bandwidth over a single cable. These functional cabling options provide more versatile system designs that can be installed in a variety of area constraints.

The new family also has the ability to enable pre-setup and real-time cable link and signal quality tests, giving users more robust and comprehensive solutions to their challenges.


The Manifold Applications for Machine Vision

Currently, the CoaXPress 2.0 family includes a transmitter-only, camera-side device and three single-chip transceiver options that are currently available. Microchip believes these new devices will help accelerate the adoption of better-performing, lower-cost machine vision solutions in a variety of applications including industrial inspection, traffic monitoring, surveillance and security, medical inspection systems, and embedded vision solutions.