Autonomous machines and devices are quickly becoming a standard in many industries and that will only increase as the processing power on them increases and their size decreases.
Nvidia announced another step forward recently with its announcement of NVIDIA Isaac, a new platform they say will serve as the artificial intelligence backbone to a "generation of autonomous machines," according to a press release. But the key to Isaac is is Jetson Xavier, a computer Nvidia has designed precisely for the purpose of robotics.
They NVIDIA team has been able to ramp up the processing power while decreasing the amount of energy used, with over 9 billion transistors delivering over 30 trillion operations per second, the release said.
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"AI is the most powerful technology force of our time. Its first phase will enable new levels of software automation that boost productivity in many industries," Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said in the release. "Next, AI, in combination with sensors and actuators, will be the brain of a new generation of autonomous machines. Someday, there will be billions of intelligent machines in manufacturing, home delivery, warehouse logistics and much more."
The Jetson Xavier developer kit starts at $1,299 and will be officially available in August. Within the kit, customers get access to the Isaac SDK, Isaac IMX, and Isaac Sim, which are collections of APIs, tools, robotics algorithm software and a "highly realistic" virtual simulation environment so that developers can test their machines' capabilities, the release said.
"With this level of AI computing power at the edge, autonomous machines can perceive the world around them with superhuman capabilities, detecting and recognizing their surroundings from sensors of all kinds," Nvidia wrote in a press release.
"Manufacturing robots can work safely alongside humans and adapt to changes," the release said. "Logistics robots can efficiently move and manage inventory and deliver products to homes. Service robots can improve the retail experience and assist the sick and elderly."
Jetson Xavier comes equipped with six kinds of processors that enable it to handle dozens of algorithms. Autonomous machines need this kind of power to be able to understand environments, respond effectively, and operate safely alongside human engineers.
In addition to image, video, and vision processors, Jetson Xavier also has a Volta Tensor Core GPU, an eight-core ARM64 CPU, and dual NVDLA deep learning accelerators.
Researchers were recently able to create a miniature drone with AI due to advances in reducing the size of processors. As these computers continue to shrink even more, all kinds of devices around us will have the power to move autonomously.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- Nvidia designed a computer specifically for AI in robotics called the Jetson Xavier, which could help democratize AI in more industries.
- The increased processing power will allow machines to handle more information and respond more effectively.
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Jonathan Greig has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Jonathan Greig is a freelance journalist based in New York City. He recently returned to the United States after reporting from South Africa, Jordan, and Cambodia since 2013.