By Eric Brown
Aetina announced a partnership to build an autonomous, solar-powered mobile robot with GPS tracking, sensors, and 6x HD cameras, based on its “AX710” carrier for the Linux-driven Jetson AGX Xavier.
Taiwan-based Aetina and an undisclosed third party are developing the UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) robot for border and shore patrol and other remote inspection and exploration applications. The robot will be built around Nvidia’s powerful, AI-enabled Jetson AGX Xavier module via Aetina’s new AX710 carrier board.
AX710, front and back
(click images to enlarge)
We missed the AX710 when it was announced in February, but have detailed it farther below. The AX710, which follows Aetina’s earlier ACE-N310 carrier for the Jetson TX1/TX2/TX2i modules, joins CTI’s Rogue and Mimic Adapter carriers for the Xavier.
Nvidia’s 105 x 87 x 16mm Jetson AGX Xavier module has greater than 10x the energy efficiency and more than 20x the performance of the Jetson TX2, claims Nvidia. The module is equipped with 8x ARMv8.2 cores and a high-end, 512-core Nvidia Volta GPU with 64 tensor cores with 2x Nvidia Deep Learning Accelerator (DLA) engines. The Xavier is further equipped with a 7-way VLIW vision chip, as well as 16GB 256-bit LPDDR4 RAM and 32GB eMMC 5.1.
The upcoming UGV built around Aetina’s AX710 board will use the deep learning algorithms running on the Xavier to “understand and react to the surroundings” in real time based on camera and environmental sensor input, says Aetina. The company’s chief partner in the project will provide a GPS-based vehicle tracking system.
The robot will be equipped with solar panels. Their facing orientation will be continually adjusted to the best solar zenith angle calculated by the Xavier with the help of an optical sensor. Other sensors include thermal, infrared sensor, and metal detection sensors.
The UGV will be equipped with 6x Full HD, 360-degree cameras. Other features include LED lighting and the third-party, cloud-connected GPS tracking system, which features geofencing. The system will support up to 5G cellular connectivity as well as Innodisk’s iCAP remote monitoring system.
Like CTI’s Rogue carrier, Aetina’s compact, 112 x 107mm AX710 is designed to stack nicely with the 105 x 87 x 16mm Xavier module for deployment on robots and other space-constrained devices. Available with -25 to 80°C or -40 to 85℃ support with 10% to 90% humidity tolerance, the carrier board has a 9-20V DC input.
AX710 block diagram and Jetson AGX Xavier
(click images to enlarge)
The AX710 carrier provides coastline ports including 2x HDMI, 2x USB 3.1, and single USB 3.1 Type-C and micro-USB ports. There’s also a GbE port via RJ45, as well as two more GbE ports via an extension adapter.
AX710 portside view
The AX710 is equipped with 2x CANBus, 2x UART, 5x GPIO, and single RS-232, I2C, and “front panel” interfaces. There are also 4x I-PEX connectors, as well as M.2 M-Key and M.2 E-Key slots.
The board also provides a 60-pin extension slot. It’s unclear if that is the source of the MIPI-CSI-2 connections for Aetina’s optional camera modules. Although the robot will offer 6x HD cameras, the AX710 supports up to 8x HD cams. Alternatively, you can have 4x 4K cameras or an undisclosed number of GSML/FPD-LINK III SerDes(PDF) cameras.
The AX710 is available with an “iNAVI” optimization service featuring an embedded OS based on Linux, including secure boot and system recovery features. Aetina pre-integrates the necessary driver porting and and can customize OS specifications. Other technical services are also available.
No ship date or name was listed for the upcoming AX710-based UGV. Aetina Corporation will share a booth with its UGV partner at DSEI (Defence & Security Equipment International) at the Exhibition Centre London UK (EXCEL) from Sep. 10-13 at booth S4-205.
The AX710 carrier board appears to be available at an undisclosed price. More information may be found on Aetina’s AX710 product page.