Rapid Prototyping of an FPGA-Based Video Processing System

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Virginia Tech

Computer vision technology can be seen in a variety of applications ranging from mobile phones to autonomous vehicles. Many computer vision applications such as drones and autonomous vehicles requires real-time processing capability in order to communicate with the control unit for sending commands in real time. Besides real-time processing capability, it is crucial to keep the power consumption low in order to extend the battery life of not only mobile devices, but also drones and autonomous vehicles. FPGAs are desired platforms that can provide high-performance and low-power solutions for real-time video processing. As hardware designs typically are more time consuming than equivalent software designs, this thesis proposes a rapid prototyping flow for FPGA-based video processing system design by taking advantage of the use of high performance AXI interface and a high level synthesis tool, Vivado HLS. Vivado HLS provides the convenience of automatically synthesizing a software implementation to hardware implementation. But the tool is far from being perfect, and users still need embedded hardware knowledge and experience in order to accomplish a successful design. In order to effectively create a stream type video processing system as well as to utilize the fastest memory on an FPGA, a sliding window memory architecture is proposed. This memory architecture can be applied to a series of video processing algorithms while the latency between an input pixel and an output pixel is minimized. By comparing my approach with other works, this optimized memory architecture proves to offer better performance and lower resource usage over what other works could offer. Its reconfigurability also provides better adaptability of other algorithms. In addition, this work includes performance and power analysis among an Intel CPU based design, an ARM based design, and an FPGA-based embedded design.

Field programmable gate arrays, Computer Vision, Video Processing, Rapid Prototyping, High-Level Synthesis