Monday, 02 April 2018 18:06

Nvidia reveals robot development kit


While autonomous cars get most of the limelight, there's plenty of work going on in the robotics field.

The technologies used in autonomous cars will spread to other areas including delivery vehicles, consumer devices, healthcare, agriculture and retail, according to Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang.

So Nvidia has introduced the Isaac robotics platform.

The main parts of the platform are the Isaac SDK and Isaac Sim.

Isaac SDK is designed to make it easier to create the software for AI-powered robots. It covers functions including perception, navigation and manipulation.

Isaac SIM provides an environment for training and testing AI software in a simulated environment before it is deployed on Nvidia Jetson hardware in a physical robot, an approach that is said to significantly accelerate development.

This is a very similar idea to Nvidia's system for testing autonomous vehicle software via simulation.

Robot developers are invited to apply for early access to the Isaac SDK.

Nvidia's first reference design for an Isaac system is the Carter delivery robot shown at last week's GPU Technology Conference:

In related news, Kinema Systems was one of three companies to win a share of US$1 million in Nvidia's Inception competition for AI startups. The company has developed a system that uses deep learning to enable robot arms to remove individual boxes from a shipping pallet without being specifically trained to handle any particular arrangement.

Disclosure: The writer attended Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference as a guest of the company.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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