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NVIDIA Jetson Cameras – Designed for Modern Day Camera Applications

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm, especially with the recent launch of ChatGPT. But the AI revolution started long back with the technology finding applications in multiple domains such as healthcare & life science, banking & financial services, manufacturing, travel & transportation, etc.

As AI algorithms got smarter along with developments in embedded hardware, edge AI systems also started gaining popularity. NVIDIA, a leading artificial intelligence computing company, has played a key role in the edge AI transformation by offering powerful, efficient, and compact computing solutions that are suitable for a wide range of industries such as smart cities, agriculture, industrial & manufacturing, smart retail, etc.

AI applications

Embedded vision systems have been able to lean on these rapid developments in edge AI processors by integrating AI-ready camera modules that power new-age embedded devices such as robots, smart traffic systems, drones, and sports analytics systems. NVIDIA Jetson cameras (simply camera modules that are readily integrated with NVIDIA Jetson processors) have helped numerous product developers accelerate time to market and come up with newer use-cases, which until recently were considered a thing of the future.

Today, let’s explore the wonderful world of NVIDIA Jetson computing modules and how they and cameras are making modern-day embedded systems more intelligent and powerful. 

What is NVIDIA Jetson?

NVIDIA JetsonTM is one of the most popular families of processing platforms used in embedded vision and edge AI applications today. It comprises the following series of processors:

  • Jetson Orin
  • Jetson Xavier
  • Jetson TX2
  • Jetson Nano

Jetson Orin

Jetson Orin comprises Jetson Orin Nano, Jetson Orin NX, and the Jetson AGX Orin series.

NVIDIA Jetson Orin™ Nano is the smallest, with a maximum AI performance of 40 TOPS (Trillion Operations per Second). It comes with both 5W and 15W power variants. Jetson Orin NX on the other hand delivers an AI performance of 100 TOPS, which is 5 times that of NVIDIA Jetson Xavier™ NX. The most powerful of the three series in the Orin category (and all of NVIDIA Jetson family) is Jetson AGX Orin with a maximum performance of 275 TOPS. It is the most advanced edge AI processor from NVIDIA with 8X the performance of its previous generation.

Jetson Xavier

Jetson Xavier has two processing platforms – Jetson Xavier NX and Jetson AGX Xavier.  The former comes with an edge computing power of 21 TOPS while the latter offers up to 32 TOPS of AI power.

According to NVIDIA, Jetson AGX Xavier is the first computer designed specifically for autonomous machines. Before the launch of the Orin series, AGX Xavier remained the most powerful processor in the Jetson family and was the go-to solution for autonomous systems such as robots, tractors, and industrial vehicles.

Jetson TX2

Jetson TX2 is an edge AI processor series that is more powerful than Jetson Nano and caters to applications such as industrial robotics and medical devices. Though not as powerful as the series mentioned above, Jetson TX2 NX, which is the latest addition to the series, meets the needs of mid-range robotic and industrial applications.

Jetson Nano

Jetson Nano is a compact edge AI solution that comes with the ability to run AI algorithms while supporting multiple neural networks in parallel. It can also support streaming from multiple image sensors.

Jetson Nano is typically used for low-end AI applications while for high-end AI processing, more powerful processors like Orin, Xavier, or TX2 are used.

What are NVIDIA Jetson cameras?

NVIDIA Jetson cameras are camera modules that are compatible with the NVIDIA Jetson family of processors. Since all Jetson modules are supported by a unified software architecture, the process of integrating an embedded camera with these platforms becomes easier.

NVIDIA Jetson cameras are classified based on the specific processor or series they can be integrated with. For example, an NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier camera is designed to be readily used with the Jetson AGX Xavier system on module.

Advantages of NVIDIA Jetson Cameras

NVIDIA Jetson cameras in a way have redefined what embedded cameras could potentially do.

By combining the power of cutting-edge camera features and the performance of NVIDIA Jetson processors, companies in the robotics, medical devices, industrial, construction, smart city, and retail industries have been able to build innovative embedded vision systems.

The advantages of NVIDIA Jetson cameras depend on two things:

  1. The features of the camera itself – such as resolution, frame rate, lens mount, etc.
  2. The capabilities of the processor it can go with

Since we are discussing NVIDIA Jetson cameras in general, here are some of the advantages they possess owing to their compatibility with NVIDIA Jetson processors:

  • NVIDIA’s portfolio includes a processor for every need. Using cameras compatible with NVIDIA Jetson offers product managers the liberty to choose from various processing platforms.
  • NVIDIA’s SDK support is unmatched. These ready-to-use software kits make integration and prototype development faster and more convenient.
  • With cloud-native support, NVIDIA Jetson cameras can be used to build embedded vision systems of any scale.

This may not be true because not all companies use the same connector/pinouts. Need to check this.

How NVIDIA Jetson Cameras are Helping Build Autonomous Machines of the Future

NVIDIA sees its edge AI solutions revolutionizing 6 industries:

  1. Transportation and logistics
  2. Smart retail
  3. Healthcare and life science
  4. Industrial and manufacturing
  5. Smart city
  6. Agriculture

When it comes to NVIDIA Jetson cameras, the set of industries and applications they serve would more or less remain the same – with a few additions and exceptions. Here, let’s dive deep into the 6 areas and how NVIDIA Jetson processors and embedded cameras are making a difference in them.

Transportation and Logistics

Transportation and logistics is a vast area. It can include anything from robotics and fleet management to railway and marine safety systems. The specific role a camera plays would depend on the particulars of the application. However, broadly speaking, NVIDIA Jetson cameras can help robots and vehicles used for transportation and logistics in the following ways:

  • Obstacle avoidance and detection
  • Depth sensing
  • Barcode reading
  • Smart picking and sorting
  • 360-degree surround view
AI robot in factory

Some of these use cases might need AI-based processing while a few others won’t. For example, AI/ML is useful in obstacle avoidance & detection to distinguish between a human and other objects. On the other hand, barcode reading can be done with simple image processing.

In both cases, NVIDIA Jetson processors can manage even heavy workloads while a high-quality embedded camera captures images and videos for the platform to process.

Smart Retail

Camera-based edge AI processing is used in the retail industry in robotics, autonomous checkout, store traffic analysis, digital signages, and stock-taking.

The types of robots used in retail stores are mostly service robots for assisting customers and tracking inventory. Telepresence robots are also in use – primarily for communication purposes. In autonomous checkout, AI is used to recognize objects in the shopping cart as cameras capture their images. Camera-enabled digital signages are used for showing personalized advertisements while store traffic analysis is carried out using data obtained from surveillance cameras placed in the store.

NVIDIA Jetson cameras are a great fit in all these cases owing to their ability to manage high-bandwidth image data and AI workloads.

Healthcare and Life Science

telemedicine

Healthcare and life science is one such area that has seen tremendous progress in the use of camera systems. Here are a few examples of embedded vision systems in the medical industry that are reimagining patient and caretaker experiences:

  • Telehealth devices
  • Drug delivery robot
  • Patient monitoring
  • Robotic surgery
  • Digital Microscopy

NVIDIA Jetson cameras can be used in all the above applications to accelerate product development and reduce time to market.

Industrial and Manufacturing

The industrial sector has seen rapid developments with the help of AI and embedded vision. From warehouse robots and factory automation to remote operations and quality inspection, many activities that were once time-consuming and human-driven have now been automated.

Many robotics and industrial equipment manufacturers today use NVIDIA-based cameras for material handling, inventory tracking, robotic cleaning, and automated dimensioning.

Smart City

Smart cities can function only with the help of embedded vision systems.

Smart traffic poles, lane deviation detection cameras, smart parking systems, crowd & vehicle analytics cameras, and smart lighting systems are all examples of camera-based smart city devices.

The purpose of the device determines the size and type of the images to be captured, which in turn decides the amount of processing involved.

Some smart city systems will find Jetson Xavier NX or lower-end processors a suitable choice while a few others might need AGX Xavier or AGX Orin.

smart city and traffic monitoring

Agriculture

Camera systems with the help of high-performance processors like NVIDIA Jetson have made it possible to build next-generation agricultural robots and devices that have helped improve the quantity and quality of food produced. Given below are a few systems where a combination of cameras and NVIDIA processors can change the game for farmers:

  • Automated weeders
  • Harvesting robots
  • Autonomous tractors
  • Autonomous lawn mowers

These vehicles and equipment help with applications such as harvesting, spreading fertilizers, weed & bug removal, soil analysis, and lawn mowing.

TechNexion: Redefining Embedded Vision with NVIDIA Jetson Cameras

TechNexion’s embedded camera solutions are designed to be compatible with NVIDIA Jetson processors.

VLS3-AR0144-SL is one such camera that is based on the AR0144 sensor from Onsemi. It is compatible with the NVIDIA Jetson Nano, Xavier NX, and Orin NX evaluation kits.

To know more about TechNexion’s camera solutions, please visit the embedded vision cameras page. 

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