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Compact edge AI boxes offer choice of Jetson Nano, TX2 NX, and Xavier NX

Nov 30, 2021 — by Eric Brown 337 views

Advantech’s compact, semi-rugged “AIR-020” edge AI system provides a choice of Jetson Nano, TX2 NX, and Xavier NX modules plus up to 2x GbE, up to 2x serial, 3x USB, HDMI, DIO, mini-PCIe, and M.2.

Advantech has announced a series of AIR-020 edge AI mini-PCs that provide a choice of different Jetson modules. The series is led by the AIR-020X, featuring the up to 21-TOPS Jetson Xavier NX. There is also a mid-range AIR-020T, powered by the mid-range, 1.33-TOPS Jetson TX2 NX and an AIR-020N with the power-efficient, 0.5-TOPS Jetson Nano.

The fanless, 139 x 110 x 44.5 mm systems offers a 12-24V DC terminal block input, up to a -10 to 60°C operating range, 3Grms vibration resistance, and 95% @ 40 °C (non-condensing) humidity tolerance. They are designed for space-constrained applications including traffic monitoring, defect inspection, AGV/AMR, people counting, and medical imaging.

(click image to enlarge)

Although we have seen an increasing number of new embedded devices based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, there are even more based on Nvidia’s Jetson family of Arm-based, AI-enhanced compute modules. One advantage of the Jetsons is the range of pin-compatible modules that can use the same carrier board. By contrast, the CM4 is not pin-compatible with the CM3 and CM3+ and is only available with one processor choice. Another advantage is the much greater built-in AI processing capability via Nvidia’s advanced GPUs, CUDA libraries, and related AI software. The CM4’s advantages are led by the lower price, open community support, and larger Pi ecosystem.


Advantech already offers Jetson based systems including its Xavier NX powered MIC-710AIX and MIC-730IVX and higher-end AGX Xavier driven MIC-730AI, which we covered together in May 2020. The year before, Advantech introduced the MIC-720AI and MIC-710IVA, both of which support the Jetson TX2 and Nano.

The AIR-020 is smaller than the smallest of those models: the MIC-720AI. The system follows earlier AIR-branded, compact edge AI systems, which run on Intel processors assisted by Movidius Myriad X AI modules.


The three AIR-020 computers have a few I/O differences beyond the different processing capabilities. The Nano-powered AIR-020N, for example, is a hair smaller than its siblings at 138 x 109.8 x 44.5mm and lacks their second GbE port, second RS-232/RS-422/RS-485 port, and “reserved” DB9 CANBus port. Like the AIR-020N, the TX2 NX based AIR-020T offers a Jetson module with 4GB LPDDR4 and 16GB eMMC compared to 8GB and 16GB for the Xavier NX powered AIR-020X.

The AIR-020X offers 2x USB 3.1 ports (or USB 3.2 per the announcement) vs. 3.0 for its siblings. It also has a slightly beefier 65W power supply, compared to 60W, and is limited to a -10 to 50°C operating range compared to -10 to 60°C, both with 0.7 m/s air flow. It provides wall-mounting but lacks the DIN-rail mount kit available with the other SKUs.

AIR-020X detail view
(click image to enlarge)

Standard features for all three systems include an HDMI port for up 3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz, as well as 4-in/4-out DIO, USB 3.2 OTG Type-C, and micro-USB for system recovery. The AIR-020 systems provide a full-sized mini-PCIe slot (USB/PCIe) and an M.2 M-key 2280 slot for up to 128GB SATA storage. Other features include dual antenna mounts, a power button, TPM 2.0, and secure boot.

All three systems ship with the Ubuntu 18.04 with Nvidia JetPack 4.5.1. They also support Advantech’s Edge AI Suite and FaceView applications, which are available on its earlier AIR systems.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the “preliminary” AIR-020 series. More information may be seen in announcements such as this AI IEN Europe announcement, as well as Advantech’s product page.

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