NVIDIA Jetson TX1 carrier boards overview

Hey DIY-selfers!

NVIDIA Jetson TX1 is a system-on-module with impressive processing capabilities.
To get a glance of how powerful it is just take a look at the numbers in the description from NVIDIA:

“It's built around the revolutionary NVIDIA Maxwell™ architecture with 256 CUDA cores delivering over 1 TeraFLOPs of performance. 64-bit CPUs, 4K video encode and decode capabilities, and a camera interface capable of 1400 MPix/s make this the best system for embedded deep learning, computer vision, graphics, and GPU computing.”

Jetson TX1 makes a perfect companion computer for those who need to do heavy processing onboard such as video processing or image recognition. But to be used as a companion computer in a drone Jetson TX1 has to be connected to a carrier board. Unfortunately default carrier board for Jetson TX1 from the Developer Kit may be too big for a medium-sized drone. Thankfully there are other alternatives that are more suitable.
As many of diydrones members are already using it I hope this overview will be useful.

Let’s begin with the default carrier board as a starting point for comparison.
Nvidia Jetson TX1 Developer Kit
599$ with Jetson TX1 module ($299) and camera module included

Default carrier board has most of the necessary interfaces on standard ports and the kit also includes a camera module. It’s quite big and heavy to fit into the medium-sized drone, but if you are just starting playing around with Jetson TX1 then the default carrier is the best to begin with since most of the documentation and examples in the internet are using it.

Astro Carrier by Connect Tech Inc.

One of the main features of this carrier is that it has 8 coax video inputs - this may be useful for projects that want to work with 360 degree vision. There’s no official price on the manufacturer’s website, but one of their dealers sells it for $489.

Elroy Carrier by Connect Tech Inc.

This carrier is close to the previous one but seems like it’s more hacker-oriented. It has no coax video inputs, only two CSI inputs which is one more than Astro. It also provides access to additional GPIOs and SPI. As with the previous board there’s no official price on the manufacturer’s website, but one of their dealers sells it for $497.

Orbitty Carrier by Connect Tech Inc.

This is the cheapest carrier board available, but it still has most of the main interfaces like Ethernet, USB 3.0, HDMI etc. What it is lacking are the CSI video inputs, but for those using USB 3.0 cameras that should be no problem.

Auvidea J100

Great and affordable board. It’s main features are: four CSI video inputs and two USB 3.0 ports which allows to connect a lot of digital camera sensors. Most interfaces including USB are routed to custom connectors, so you’ll need special cables for that.

Auvidea J120

J120 is my favorite here. It is little bit easier to use than its predecessor since it has standard Ethernet and USB ports. It also includes M2 slot for connection of SSDs and two CAN ports for connection of industrial equipment.

There’s also Auvidea J200 that is designed to carry two Jetson TX1 modules, but it is quite big so not included in the comparison.

Comparison chart

Here’s a simple comparison chart of the main features, hopefully it will be able to help to determine which board suits your needs better.

If you know any other compact carrier boards or think that something should be included in the comparison chart feel free to post in the comments section, I will be happy to add the info.

Views: 17108

Comment by Gary McCray on May 20, 2016 at 11:34am

Great to see some info on the TX1 showing up here.

For a lot of vision / navigation purposes I think the TX1 is going to be the go to platform for us.

I also agree that the Dev kit carrier board is large for UAVs and this group represents an excellent set of alternatives.

I am starting with a Traxxas XMAXX (really big) 4WD truck as my base robotics platform so the TK1 and TX1 dev kits are a satisfactory fit, but for aerial use these smaller boards are much better.

Thank You for bringing this to us.

Best Regards,


Comment by benbojangles on May 20, 2016 at 1:06pm

Eventually to be installed onto real cars :)

Comment by Randy on May 20, 2016 at 5:39pm

I've started using Auvidea's J120 and it seems good so far.  Certainly it'll fit on a drone (although not an IRIS) and it seems to have all the interfaces that I need.

Comment by Fnoop on May 21, 2016 at 1:53am

Can you buy just the TX1 module yet?  Why are the carrier boards so expensive?  They're pretty much the same price or more as the TX1 module itself.

Comment by Gary McCray on May 21, 2016 at 2:04pm

@ Fnoop the TX1 Module is slated to be $299.00 in 1000 unit quantities (though I don't know if they are actually shipping these yet.

Given that the TX1 dev board with the TX1 Module is "only" $599.00 it is actually a pretty good deal.

The Dev board actually has a lot of useful stuff on board and you can expect that the TX1 module is going to be considerably more expensive than $299.00 in singles or small quantities in any case.

Unfortunately the dev board is large and possibly a bit power hungry, so for those who want a smaller more efficient system right now, the only way is to get the dev board with the TX1 then discard it and get one of the above mentioned boards.

Digikey and Allied don't even mention the TX1 and the only TX1s I have seen for sale at all are the full development kit.

Comment by unnamed idea on May 21, 2016 at 11:44pm

Hey Alexandru, thank you for the info and for bringing the Tx1 on the front page :). The major car manufacturers(Audi, Bmw, Mercedes etc.) already decided to use the Tx1 for autonomous driving/situational awareness etc.

Currently, in the university we get the Tx1 dev-kit and will use it for the indoor navigation and online semi-dense env. mapping with drones. Currently I began learning basics of linux/ubuntu and trying to understand/use related projects like lsd-slam.

@Randy it is great to see you using Tx1, I did not know you started using that. If they are not private, could you please explain us your projects, what and how you are doing with the Tx1? What is your ultimate goal with this board? I have A LOT to learn from you :)

Comment by Jerry Giant on May 22, 2016 at 3:03am

Could ardupilot team consider a dedicated external IMU for linux stack?

I have the board too and played with it a little, i will test some FPGA stereo with ROS deisgn in July. Now my problem is this design still too far from an application, and the companion computer standards is too vague or not modularized as i expected. I hope firmware developers consider my suggestion: I will build a stereo module with TX1 module, with CNC lense mounting and fan cooling, something looks like this:

but i dont want to build a pixhawk inside it, so i can have no worries about EMI and temperature conditioning, would you guys adopt the existing code with a IMU like this:


well we can work it on CANBUS if you like later, but i want to build a whole package running on linux kernel, for high priority control loop we can use one or many pixhawk units for distributed mixer control.

hope this make sense.

Comment by Alexandru Evian on May 22, 2016 at 4:18am

@Gary McCray You're welcome! I'm happy to hear that there are active TX1 users.

@Randy I agree, IRIS may be too tight for adding anything extra on it. I'm using Quanum Spider 700 and TX1 with J120 fits perfectly there. I was even able to use it with Jetson Dev Kit carrier at first, but it took all the space so I started looking for alternatives.

@Fnoop @Gary McCray I'm sure that the situation with the supply will change soon and we will be able to buy the modules from some electronics retailer without the kits. Maybe not for $299, but shoudn't be much higher.

Comment by Alexandru Evian on May 22, 2016 at 4:20am

@unnamed idea That's not surprising, TX1 is an incredible deal. Other alternatives such as the ones from Renesas are priced much higher.

Comment by Gary McCray on May 29, 2016 at 10:49am

@ Jerry,

I for one would definitely be interested in the stereo module as you are showing it.

That is a perfect application for the TX1.

For my use I would still want some additional I/O available to the TX1 for scanned laser ranging.

I think a simple interface to a Pixhawk or clone is the best way to handle flight control in any case.

Please let us know as this project progress's.

Best Regards,



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