Q-Free unveils next-gen AI-enabled ARM processors for smart intersections


Q-Free, a provider of mobility solutions for smart city infrastructure, has unveiled a new flagship processor for use in advanced transportation controllers (ATCs), which promises gains in computing power, diverse operational ability, and previously unavailable capabilities for computing on the edge.

The Velocity processors are AI-enabled ARM processors designed to shift the industry paradigm away from single-purpose traffic signal controllers to an ecosystem where hardware is the foundation of an edge computing platform.

“This is a game changer,” said Patrick Marnell, Q-Free’s director of product management. “Moving to an ARM processor massively increases the computing power available on the controller. The traffic signal controller will no longer be a single-purpose device. It will become the smartphone of the municipal environment providing an edge computing node at every signalized intersection.”

The new multi-core processors take advantage of modern computing technology providing significantly more power compared to the typical PowerPC found in most ATC controllers, Q-Free noted. Accompanying the boost in processing power is expanded storage and memory on the boards enabling more complex computing and data uses.

Additionally, the legacy PowerPC chips commonly used in the traffic industry are becoming increasingly difficult to procure as the processor industry moves on from older technology.

“Older PowerPC processors are harder and more expensive to get,” according to Marnell. “Transitioning to an ARM-based platform brings our industry’s technology in line with more modern standards. This lets Q-Free provide a more powerful controller while controlling costs and better managing lead times.”

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