Designing a small carrier board for TX-1 for UAV / robotics apps w/FPGA interface

I would like to design an application-specific carrier board for the Jetson TX-1 with a much smaller form factor than the development kit carrier board. The application would be for small UAVs (robotic systems) and the system would naturally be used to support onboard vision processing. Conceptually, the board should offer the following features:

  1. Small form factor: About 70 x 90 mm
  2. Input power range (minimum): 8-20V
  3. Connection to multiple CMOS image sensors
  4. Possibly using PCIe to provide tight integration with an FPGA.
  5. USB port for keyboard
  6. Display port mainly for debugging and maintenance.
  7. Gigabit Ethernet

Beyond that, I’m trying to figure out what the carrier board really needs to support such a “minimal system”. (Keep in mind that I plan to interface to an FPGA board like the Terasic DE0-Nano-SoC (Altera Cyclone V SE), which is connected to a sensor/interface board I just designed.

I’ve not seen any COTS small carrier boards for the TX-1, which makes sense given its recent release.

If anyone are interested in participating in the development of such a small form-factor carrier board for UAV / robotic application, I would appreciate some collaboration / sharing of ideas. At this point, I’m simply trying to decide which peripherals and ports to include.

Thanks

If you are in US or have US re-sellers, we will be interested in buying them. To develop FPGA cards would be much more difficult than carrier cards without FPGA, you may consider designing carrier card without FPGA but with standard FPGA module interface, such as “Mini Module Plus”:

http://www.em.avnet.com/en-us/design/drc/Pages/Xilinx-Kintex-7-FPGA-Mini-Module-Plus.aspx

users can select different FPGA modules depending application/cost and other factors.

Thanks. I’m based in Atlanta, USA.

Agree that the FPGA should be a plug-in. I’ve registered on the Avnet site to download technical documents on the Mini Module Plus.

Will be back in a few days with a more detailed spec sheet for the carrier board…

yahoo2016,
I’ve done some research on the MMP form factor.

Are other companies (not Avnet) allowed to make & sell their own processor boards using the MMP form factor? I’m asking because IF I’m going to design a carrier card for the TX-1 with an interface to an MMP, then I may also make an FPGA board with an Altera Cyclone V SE using the same form factor.

So, what will this TX-1/MMP carrier board look like?
The TX-1 is 87 x 50 mm (If I remember correctly.)
The MMP is 101.6 x 57.15 mm.
Thus, they are similar size - good.

In order to maintain a high data rate on the PCIe between the boards, it makes sense to use a single PCB with short traces and SMD connectors on both sides. Since the carrier board should be small and simple, the (big) power supplies should be moved to the system’s sensor/interface board.

There will be some redundancy in IO between the TX-1 and the FPGA board. I think it is important to keep in mind that the TX-1 should focus on vision-processing and the FPGA will talk to navigation sensors, actuators and the outside world. Right now, I’m envisioning that the only connections to the TX-1 will be:

  • PCIe to the FPGA board
  • HDMI to monitor
  • USB to a keyboard
  • CSI (HiSpi) to image sensors
  • JTAG + Serial port
  • Ethernet
    (Anything else that is in the MUST-HAVE category?)

Connections from the FPGA board:

  • Break out GPIO from JX1 and JX2 to an IO-header
  • PCIe to TX-1
  • Ethernet

There needs to be a power/sensor/interface board in the stack. This, I already have, although a new board spin may be required to ensure compatibility. The sensor board is 96 x 68 mm.

Needless to say, this stack is going to require some forced air cooling to prevent getting fried - in a hurry.

Multiple USB3 ports would be helpful for additional cameras or storage. Since there is no standard CSI connector, Pi camera connectors could be used for users to add cheap 5MP sensors.

The base carrier cards without FPGA could be big seller for most users. FPGA option will be for high end users.

How long will it take to make base carrier cards without FPGA? I hope Nvidia L4T driver for ov5493 could be used for Pi cameras with minimum changed.

yahoo2016,
Would you be interested in an off-line conversation about this?
Please call or text me at 678 770 3155. Thanks. Henrik

Hi Yahoo2016 and viking64

I work with Auvidea we have produced a few TX1 Carrier boards you might be interetsed in;

http://diydrones.com/profiles/blog/show?id=705844%3ABlogPost%3A2128741&page=15#comments

http://www.auvidea.eu/download/newsletter/news_2015-12/news_2015-12.pdf

we have the 38188 boards in test production now,

we will be selling them very soon after testing.

we also have some other boards for TX1.

once we have updated our website i will post back here,

email me if you are interested in more details;

ds@auvidea.com

I visited the web site and saw price list but could not find how to order them.

I saw order information at bottom of price list.

Hi Yahoo2016,

The 38188 Boards are 199 Euro + tax + shipping

we have a Modular motherboard as well that will carry a Pixhawk Module and an edison module as well as a TX1 38188 board, and we have a Dual TX1 Board.

If you want more details send an email to me ds@auvidea.com we havent updated the website just yet.

Hi dave-auvidea,

Thanks for the info. I’m checking out your board and I have sent you an email.

Hi, this is Jurgen from Auvidea.
I just want to let you know that we have the J100 rev 2 now and we start shipping this product next week. Please also have a look at our INDIEGOGO campaign at:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nvidia-jetson-tx1-super-mini-computer#/
If you would like to order one of our carrier boards for the TX1, just send an email to info@auvidea.com.
The rev 2 boards have some enhancements like 2 CAN controllers and an optional IMU (MPU-9250).

I addeed two links to this carrier board to the sticky topic on Jetson Links (search for “Audvia”).