Coral is Google’s quiet initiative to enable AI without the cloud

Some of Coral’s hardware products, including an AI accelerator (far right) and dev board (center). | Image: Coral

AI allows machines to carry out all sorts of tasks that used to be the domain of humans alone. Need to run quality control on a factory production line? Set up an AI-powered camera to spot defects. How about interpreting medical data? Machine learning can identify potential tumors from scans and flag them to a doctor.

But applications like this are useful only so long as they’re fast and secure. An AI camera that takes minutes to process images isn’t much use in a factory, and no patient wants to risk the exposure of their medical data if it’s sent to the cloud for analysis.

These are the sorts of problems Google is trying to solve through a little-known initiative called Coral.

“Traditionally, data from [AI] devices was sent to large…

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