Design of an Application-specific VLIW Vector Processor for ORB Feature Extraction

Lucas Ferreira*, Steffen Malkowsky, Patrik Persson, Sven Karlsson, Kalle Åström, Liang Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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In computer-vision feature extraction algorithms, compressing the image into a sparse set of trackable keypoints, empowers navigation-critical systems such as Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) in autonomous robots, and also other applications such as augmented reality and 3D reconstruction. Most of those applications are performed in battery-powered gadgets featuring in common a very stringent power-budget. Near-to-sensor computing of feature extraction algorithms allows for several design optimizations. First, the overall on-chip memory requirements can be lessened, and second, the internal data movement can be minimized. This work explores the usage of an Application Specific Instruction Set Processor (ASIP) dedicated to perform feature extraction in a real-time and energy-efficient manner. The ASIP features a Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) architecture comprising one RV32I RISC-V and three vector slots. The on-chip memory sub-system implements parallel multi-bank memories with near-memory data shuffling to enable single-cycle multi-pattern vector access. Oriented FAST and Rotated BRIEF (ORB) are thoroughly explored to validate the proposed architecture, achieving a throughput of 140 Frames-Per-Second (FPS) for VGA images for one scale, while reducing the number of memory accesses by 2 orders of magnitude as compared to other embedded general-purpose architectures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Signal Processing Systems
Pages (from-to)863–875
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • ASIP
  • Feature extraction
  • ORB
  • Vision-based SLAM


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