Energy-Efficient Tiny Chip


Navion, for Miniaturized Robot Navigation

Autonomous navigation of miniaturized robots (e.g., nano/pico aerial vehicles) is a grand challenge for robotics research. Its main challenge lies in the need for processing a large amount of sensor data (e.g., image frames captured by cameras) with limited on-board computational resources.

MIT Researchers, Professors Vivienne Sze and Sertac Karaman, have co-led a team in building a tiny chip called Navion. The chip is fabricated in 65nm CMOS. It has a size of 20 square mm (see the companion photo). It can process 752x480 stereo images at up to 171 fps while consuming an average of 24mW. As an application, it can be installed in nano-drones and small low-power robots to enable autonomous navigation.

For more technical details, please refer to the following article:

A. Suleiman, Z. Zhang, L. Carlone, S. Karaman, V. Sze, “Navion: A Fully Integrated Energy-Efficient Visual-Inertial Odometry Accelerator for Autonomous Navigation of Nano Drones,” IEEE Symposium on VLSI Circuits (VLSI-Circuits), June 2018.