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Pedestrian detection is a crucial task in several video surveillance and automotive scenarios, but only a few detection systems are designed to be realized on an embedded architecture, allowing to increase the processing speed which is one of the key requirements in real applications. In this paper, we propose a novel SoC (System on Chip) architecture for fast pedestrian detection in video. Our implementation is based on a linear SVM (Support Vector Machine) classification frame- work, learned on a set of overlapped image patches. Each patch is described by a covariance matrix of a set of image features. Exploiting the inner parallelism of the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) boards, we dramatically accelerate the covariance matrices computation that plays a crucial role in the framework. In the experiments, we show the effectiveness and the efficiency of our pedestrian detection system, reaching a detection speed of 132 fps at VGA resolution.