NVIDIA Jetson TK1 Development Kit brings mobile supercomputer to avionics systems

March 29, 2014
SAN JOSE, Calif., 29 March 2014. NVIDIA CEO and Co-Founder Jen-Hsun Huang, in his keynote presentation at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose, Calif., launched a developer platform based on a mobile supercomputer for embedded systems.

Editor's note: GE Intelligent Platforms changed its name to Abaco Systems on 23 Nov. 2015 as a result of the company's acquisition last September by New York-based private equity firm Veritas Capital.

SAN JOSE, Calif., 29 March 2014. NVIDIA CEO and Co-Founder Jen-Hsun Huang, in his keynote presentation at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose, Calif., launched a developer platform based on a mobile supercomputer for embedded systems.

The NVIDIA Jetson TK1 Developer Kit is designed to enable the development of systems and applications that employ computer vision, image processing, and real-time data processing. Aerospace and defense use cases include enabling robots to seamlessly navigate and drones to avoid moving objects.

With 326 gigaflops of performance--nearly three times more than any similar embedded platform--the Jetson TK1 Developer Kit includes a C/C++ toolkit based on NVIDIA CUDA parallel computing platform and programming model. “This makes it much easier to program than the FPGA, custom ASIC, and DSP processors that are commonly used in current embedded systems,” officials say.

"Jetson TK1 fast tracks embedded computing into a future where machines interact and adapt to their environments in real time," says Ian Buck, vice president of accelerated computing at NVIDIA. "This platform enables developers to fully harness computer vision in handheld devices, bringing supercomputing capabilities to low-power devices."

At the heart of the Jetson TK1 Developer Kit is the Tegra K1 mobile processor, NVIDIA's 192-core chip built on the NVIDIA Kepler advanced and energy-efficient GPU. Tegra K1's 192 programmable cores deliver the world's most advanced graphics and compute performance in a mobile form factor.

The Tegra K1 processor is based on the same Kepler architecture that powers the U.S. fastest supercomputer, the Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, as well the world's 10 most efficient supercomputers, says a company spokesperson. Jetson TK1 Developer Kit includes the programming tools required by software developers to develop and deploy compute-intensive systems.

A range of developers and system builders in aerospace and defense have expressed support for the development platform:

Chris Jones, director of strategic technology development at iRobot Corp., says: "Having the level of performance and energy efficiency Jetson TK1 offers can potentially support the development of robots with real-time object recognition and compelling autonomous navigation capabilities. Our experience with the previous generation CUDA development kit has already enabled us to make great progress training robots to interact more intelligently with their environment."

Simon Collins, product manager at GE Intelligent Platforms, notes: "Tegra K1 can change what's possible in the rugged and industrial embedded market. We expect to be able to offer solutions in the sub-10 watt space that previously consumed 100 watts or more."

The Jetson TK1 platform supports the NVIDIA VisionWorks toolkit, which provides a rich set of computer vision and image processing algorithms to create applications quickly. These include CUDA-powered capabilities in areas such as robotics, augmented reality, computational photography, human-computer interface and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

The Jetson TK1 Developer Kit comes with the full support of the CUDA 6.0 developer tool suite, including debuggers and profilers to develop massively parallel applications. CUDA 6 also brings to the ARM platform NVIDIA's accelerated libraries for FFTs, linear algebra, sparse matrix, plus image and video processing.

Jetson TK1 is the first developer platform for the Tegra K1, which was unveiled in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It includes 2GB memory and input/output connectors for USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4, Gigabit Ethernet, audio, SATA, miniPCIe, and an SD card slot.

It comes with a board support package and software stack, including OpenGL 4.4, as well as CUDA and the VisionWorks toolkit. It also includes a complete suite of development and profiling tools, out-of-the-box support for cameras and other peripherals, and NVIDIA's partner support networking including Avionic Design, GE Intelligent Platforms, ICD, SECO and Toshiba DME.

The NVIDIA Jetson TK1 Development Kit can be preordered for $192, in the U.S., from NVIDIA, Microcenter, and Newegg. It is also available for preorder from Avionic Design, SECO and Zotac in Europe. Distribution in Japan is through Ryoyo Electro Corp.

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