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on 20 September 2022

Ubuntu Core set to redefine industrial computing with new edge AI platform NVIDIA IGX

Enterprises struggle to bring AI and automation to the edge due to strict requirements and regulations across verticals. Long-term support, zero-trust security, and built-in functional safety are only a few challenges faced by players who wish to accelerate their technology adoption. 

At Canonical, we are excited by the promise of bringing secure AI and automation to the edge, and we look forward to providing a stable, open-source foundation for NVIDIA IGX, a new, industrial-grade edge AI platform announced by NVIDIA today. IGX is purpose built for high performance, proactive safety, and end-to-end security in regulated environments. The first product under the IGX platform is NVIDIA IGX Orin, designed to deliver ultra-fast performance in size and power. It’s ideal for use cases in manufacturing, logistics, energy, retail and healthcare.  

NVIDIA IGX brings functional safety to the industrial edge

Organisations are extending to the edge, pushing workloads closer to where users and embedded systems connect to the network. NVIDIA IGX is charting the course for customers to navigate the shift to the edge by bringing built-in functional safety.

Three layers of functional safety — reactive, proactive and predictive — play a crucial role at the industrial edge. Whereas the reactive layer is about mitigating the severity of threats, and predictive safety comprises anticipating future exposure based on past performance, proactivity is about identifying concerns before events occur.

Designed for industrial and medical certifications, IGX Orin redefines industrial computing by delivering proactive safety in regulated environments. The prevention and detection of random and systematic hardware errors are safety features crucial for environments where humans and robots work together. IGX Orin features a programmable safety microcontroller unit built into the board design, enabling functional safety to become a reality.

Enterprises aiming to tap into the fourth industrial revolution can now rely on IGX Orin’s cutting-edge 275 tera-ops per second of AI performance to proactively prevent damage, reduce costs and improve factory efficiency. Even at the edge, requirements and regulations vary, from automotive to industrial to medical use cases. 


Amanda Saunders, Senior Manager of Edge AI at NVIDIA, said, ”The growth of AI and automation at the edge has led to new requirements in specialised markets. With NVIDIA IGX Orin, we are helping customers seize the opportunity at the edge by bringing AI, security, and proactive safety to regulated markets like industrial automation and medical devices.”

In addition, IGX Orin takes  power optimisations from the mobile system-on-a-chip world to a server form factor. The bleeding-edge performance of IGX Orin, shipping with an NVIDIA ConnectX-7 SmartNIC, capable of 200 gigabits per second, is an energy-efficient system built for low-latency applications with real-time constraints. 

Trusted and secure underlying OSs for a new generation of industrial use cases

Ubuntu, backed by Canonical, is the most popular open-source operating system (OS) for developers, with commercial-grade support available for production deployments. Such support means that Ubuntu is not just the reference OS for innovators and developers, but also the vehicle enabling enterprises to run secure AI workloads at the edge without users having to worry about the stability and security of the underlying platform.

With Ubuntu Core, the application-centric OS for embedded Linux devices, the built-in security of IGX Orin devices can be enhanced, beyond bug fixes and CVE patches. Industrial pioneers will benefit from Ubuntu Core’s state-of-the-art security features, from full-disk encryption to strict confinement. Similarly, every edge application on top of Ubuntu Core sits in a secure, sandboxed environment. By using an OS designed for utmost reliability and optimised for security, world-leading suppliers and manufacturers are free to concentrate their efforts and redirect resources towards their value-add activities.

Bringing high performance to the edge

The 22.04 LTS release of Ubuntu brought increased energy-performance features. Running Ubuntu on the new IGX Orin will provide developers with significant usability, battery and performance improvements. 

Real-time kernel support by Canonical is also available for Ubuntu users, guaranteeing ultra-low latency and security for critical infrastructure. “There is a greater need for high-performance and energy-efficient systems built for real-time applications at the edge,” said Edoardo Barbieri, Product Manager at Canonical. “Real-time Ubuntu will power the next generation of industrial innovations by providing a deterministic response time to their extreme low-latency requirements. Powered by IGX Orin’s high performance, we will deliver minimal latency for enterprise workloads at the edge.”

Using Ubuntu will also enable the community to leverage the open-source ecosystem of applications and AI-based workloads.

Ideal to accelerate industrial transformation

Companies deploying smart automation solutions using Ubuntu Core have plenty to look forward to with the IGX platform.

Take, for instance, robotics: as the automation market grows, so do robotics development and the need for functional safety in environments with close human interactions. Ubuntu Core developers are pushing robotics to new heights, from warehouses to hospitals. NVIDIA IGX’s safety architecture and features will allow robotics companies to accelerate the adoption of their products in safety-critical environments.

“As factories strive for increased overall equipment effectiveness and reduced process downtime, Orin IGX and Ubuntu deliver the perfect combination of high performance, built-in functional safety, end-to-end security and long-term support,” Edoardo Barbieri, Product Manager at Canonical, said, “By delivering proactive safety in regulated environments, we can now predict machine failure based on vibrations before they happen. With proactive part replacement and by preventing downtime, we are bringing the future of industrial automation forward.”

Ready to redefine industrial computing

By redefining industrial computing, NVIDIA IGX will meet the enterprise-grade demands of high-performance systems at the edge. Forward-thinkers and innovators are now in the driver’s seat to push the envelope of AI and robotics in regulated markets.

With the introduction of NVIDIA IGX, enterprises get a boost to bring AI and automation to the edge. Canonical is looking forward to working with NVIDIA to deliver the highest performance, ease of use, and industrial readiness with Ubuntu and Ubuntu Core on the NVIDIA IGX platform.


For more information about NVIDIA IGX, please check out the NVIDIA blog here.

To explore more about Ubuntu Core, please read the blog and watch the on-demand webinar.

To join us at GTC 2022, please check the blog here.

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