During GTC 2022, NVIDIA introduced new hardware and supporting services for the robotics development space designed to help the industry with the development and machine testing. First, NVIDIA’s Isaac Sim robotics simulation platform will soon offer cloud access. Second, the lineup of system-level modules is rapidly expanding, including the Jetson Orin Nano, designed for low-power robots, and a new platform called IGX.
Isaac Sim was launched as a public beta back in June last year. Features allow designers to simulate robots interacting with real-world models, such as digital reconstructions of warehouses and factory floors.
Users can generate datasets with the help of simulated sensors, train models on real-world robots, and utilize synthetic data from batch parallel, and unique simulations to enhance the performance of the models.
Such a statement is not a marketing gimmick. Some research points to synthetic data as a relief for companies trying to implement AI solutions but encountering many development challenges.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have also recently found a way to use synthetic data to classify images.
What’s more, major self-driving car companies are actively using simulated data to fill in the gaps in their collection of real data from the road.
NVIDIA said the upcoming release of Isaac Sim is available on AWS RoboMaker and NVIDIA NGC, and supports deployment to any public cloud and will soon be available on the company’s Omniverse Cloud platform.
Enterprise customers will be able to use the real-time fleet tasking and route planning engine on the cloud platform and leverage NVIDIA cuOpt to optimize the robot’s path planning performance.
In a blog post, Gerard Andrews, senior product marketing manager at NVIDIA, wrote.
"Isaac Sim in the cloud brings together development teams located around the world, allowing them to share a virtual world in which to simulate and train robots. At the same time, running Isaac Sim in the cloud means that developers are no longer dependent on powerful workstations to run simulations, and can configure, manage and view the results of simulations on any device."
Moving on to the Jetson Orin Nano: In March, NVIDIA introduced the Jetson Orin, the company’s next-generation ARM single board for edge computing.
The first member of the series was the Jetson AGX Orin, but we now have the Orin Nano — which expands the Jetson Orin family lineup with a more affordable configuration.
"Orin Nano has the smallest form factor of the family to date and can perform up to 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS) at full speed. As the most entry-level SKU in the Jetson family, NVIDIA also offers six Orin-based production modules - for a range of robotic and native offline computing applications."
Notably, the Orin Nano features modules compatible with NVIDIA’s previously announced Orin NX, which supports a pipeline of AI applications for the Ampere GPU architecture coming in 2020.
Interested developers can get their hands on both versions next January, which will cost $199. The Orin Nano 8GB has 7-15W of configurable power and 40 TOPS performance, while the Orin Nano 4GB has 5-10W of lower power and 20 TOPS performance.
In a statement, Deepu Talla, vice president of embedded and edge computing at NVIDIA, said.
"Since the announcement of the Jetson AGX Orin six months ago, it has been adopted by more than 1,000 customers and 150 partners. With the arrival of the Orin Nano, this trend is set to grow significantly. And on the price side, the Jetson AGX Orin costs well over $1,000, while the Orin Nano is much more affordable -- setting a new standard for entry-level edge AI and robotics."
Finally, NVIDIA quietly released a glimpse of IGX — a suite of platforms for “high-precision” edge AI (particularly in applications such as manufacturing and logistics) that the company says provides an additional layer of security and a low-latency AI performance experience for highly regulated environments such as factories, warehouses, clinics, and hospitals.
"As part of the IGX platform, IGX Orin is an AI chip for funding industrial machines and medical devices. Development kits, suitable for prototyping and product testing, will be available to enterprises early next year, NVIDIA said. Each kit features an integrated GPU / GPU, as well as a software stack with security features that can be configured and programmed for different use cases."
NVIDIA added that it is currently working with developers of Linux distributions such as Canonical, Red Hat and SUSE to provide long-term, full-stack support for IGX. In a statement, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said.
"As humans increasingly work with robots, industries are setting new functional safety standards for artificial intelligence and computing. And IGX will help companies build the next generation of software-defined industrial and medical devices so they can operate safely in the same environments as humans."