Where would your drone be without GPS? Most likely grounded. However that’s not the case for all drones. NVIDIA, known for their high performance graphics cards and parallel processing GPUs, is working on a drone that navigates using machine vision. The machine vision is powered by NVIDIA Jetson TX1 embedded AI supercomputers.
Although initially designed to follow forest trails to rescue lost hikers or spot fallen trees, the low-flying autonomous drone could work far beyond the forest — in canyons between skyscrapers or inside buildings, for example — where GPS is inaccurate or unavailable.
“This works when GPS doesn’t,” said Nikolai Smolyanskiy, the NVIDIA team’s technical lead. “All you need is a path the drone can recognize visually.”
No GPS? No Problem
Although the technology is still experimental, it could eventually search for survivors in damaged buildings, inspect railroad tracks in tunnels, check stock on store shelves, or adapted to examine communications cables underwater, Smolyanskiy said.
The team’s already trained it to follow train tracks and ported the system to a robot-on-wheels to traverse hallways. The drone also avoids obstacles like people, pets or poles.
Watch NVIDIA’s drone navigate without GPS below:
This Drone Goes Where GPS Can’t
NVIDIA researchers developed a drone that navigates without GPS and instead relies on deep learning and computer vision. Here, it flies along a forest trail, avoiding obstacles and maintaining a steady position in the center of the trail. Learn more: http://nvda.ws/2sbYGRc
NVIDIA pioneered a supercharged form of computing loved by the most demanding computer users in the world — scientists, designers, artists, and gamers. NVIDIA GPU computing has become the essential tool of the da Vincis and Einsteins of our time. For them, we’ve built the equivalent of a time machine. Fueled by the insatiable demand for better 3D graphics and the massive scale of the gaming market, NVIDIA has evolved the GPU into a computer brain at the exciting intersection of virtual reality, high performance computing, and artificial intelligence.