COM Express® Computer-on-Modules


COM Express® is a PICMG® standard for Computer-on-Modules. COM Express® Computer-on-Modules provide a compact solution for rugged, scalable and readily upgradable military systems.

COM Express®

COM Express® Computer-on-Modules (COMs) are frequently viewed as 'building blocks' to limit expenditure in the design of smaller and / or mobile military systems by safeguarding design investments and promising reduced development costs in the future by providing a scalable, readily upgradable solution. COMs allow future hardware developments to be integrated into existing systems by a simple change of the COM and thus with a minimum of effort - an essential feature in an environment where mobile, compact technology is becoming increasingly prevalent. Computer-on-modules offer extreme flexibility in design to build in extra capabilities via application-tailored carrier boards. A supporting community of resources furthermore helps to simplify migration on the hardware and software side.

COM Express® is a compact form factor offering long-term flexibility for systems developers to take advantage of the latest developments in low-powered, high-spec. heat-tolerant computing. The modules are available in three footprints from basic (125x95mm), compact (95x95mm) down to the latest addition of the standard, the new mini (85x55mm) footprint. COM Express® Computer-on-Modules deliver a readily upgradable / expandable solution, in which a particular module may be easily replaced as needs evolve. If a system must migrate to a new processor architecture with reduced power demands or better processing performance then the latest processors may be integrated via a module change into the system without wasting previous hardware investments. The interchangeable nature of the COM Express® modules also reduces the risks associated with hardware development, allows equipment manufacturers to reduce development timescales and to effectively manage systems migration.

Military Systems Development

COM Express® provides an economically favourable platform for modern mobile military hardware demanding impressive graphical performance. COM Express® Computer-on-Modules facilitate sophisticated support for parallel computing and graphics, supporting a wide range of display interfaces providing an effective technology to meet graphically-demanding hardware requirements. This is particularly useful for intensive data manipulation as required in many military systems involved in situational awareness, encoding of data and processing of images.

Unmanned systems box featuring COM Express board

The COM Express® standard provides a thriving population of development options and resources for control over migration paths. It also offers the adaptability to install additional capabilities as needed by using the appropriate module. This is especially useful when updating a design both from one generation to the next, and whenever requirements change. For instance, equipment manufacturers can easily replace the standard module with a Kontron COMe-cPV2 XT COM Express compact module for extended usage and energy economy. This provides a durable solution for operation in a wider range of temperatures from -40 to 85 degrees C and offers superior processor power with the Dual-Core Intel® Atom™ CPU.

Developers of unmanned aerial vehicles must provide superior computing, bandwidth and data collection capabilities whilst also meeting rigorous size, weight and power limitations. Kontron's range of hard-wearing off-the-shelf VME, VMX, COM Express and CompactPCI platforms together with extensive knowledge of military systems development enable them to adjust to the changing requirements of UAV systems.

Adapted from information on Kontron's article: The Four Form Factors with the Most Secure Future.

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