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Velodyne Creating the Future of Mobile Robots with NVIDIA
Mar 04, 2021 | By Velodyne Lidar

The dream of robots helping around the home and at work is becoming the reality of today. Look around and you may spot a robot! Right now, robots are out there in the world doing their jobs – from vacuuming a living room and making deliveries to your door to inspecting high-risk environments and patrolling airport parking garages – and much more.

Laikago is a quadruped robot designed by Unitree Robotics. Equipped with the Velodyne Puck, the Laikago can be used as a fully autonomous machine with Isaac SDK.

Robotics is already increasing efficiency and safety in homes and workplaces. These benefits will exponentially grow as robots become more autonomous and capable of performing increasingly complex tasks.

“NVIDIA dedicates itself to solving the very difficult challenges that computing can solve. And robotics is unquestionably one of the final frontiers of artificial intelligence. It requires the convergence of so many types of technologies,” said NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang, speaking to The Robot Report during the opening of the company’s Seattle-based robotics research lab in 2019.

Velodyne Lidar is working with NVIDIA to bring advanced sensor technologies and development platforms to autonomous mobile robots. Both are critical components for building mobile robots that safely operate outside controlled situations.

Robots Applications in Action: NVIDIA Jetson Edge AI Platform

Velodyne and NVIDIA capabilities power robots to solve real-world challenges in applications such as construction, last-mile delivery, physical security, warehouse automation and many more. We’re both focused on making it easier for developers and manufacturers to create next-generation autonomous mobile robots.

Our work with NVIDIA supports accelerated development of lidar-enabled autonomous robotic solutions on  the NVIDIA Jetson platform. The Jetson portfolio includes a wide variety of size, weight and power (SWaP) optimized products that enable the running of complete application stack for AI-enabled autonomy on the edge for autonomous mobile robots with highest performance. 

Velodyne’s lidar solutions for the Jetson platform add major value to customers by allowing robots to operate autonomously and safely, without human intervention. Our sensors provide data to enable precise localization and mapping capabilities, so robots know exactly where they are in relation to surroundings. The sensors support robots in challenging indoor and outdoor environmental conditions, including varying temperature, lighting and precipitation.

The availability of robust solutions within the Jetson ecosystem affords developers and manufacturers a simple, reliable and cost-effective path forward when deploying autonomous mobile robots. Velodyne’s lidar essentially gives robots sight, enabling perception and autonomous navigation so they can take on more complex tasks and work environments.

Jumpstarting Robot Development: Isaac SDK and NVIDIA Carter

There are boundless opportunities for robots to create new efficiencies and improve our quality of life. NVIDIA created the Isaac Software Development Kit (SDK), an open robotics platform, to speed up development and deployment of commercial-grade robots.

The Isaac SDK brings a software framework for efficient processing on the Jetson platform. It makes it easy to add AI for perception and navigation into modern-day robots.

To demonstrate how simple it is to add new features to robots using the Isaac SDK, an NVIDIA team posted the steps on how to integrate a Velodyne Puck™ lidar sensor into an intelligent robot dog. The team’s post includes a video that shows how the Puck sensor enabled the robot dog to autonomously navigate a room and avoid obstacles in its path.

Isaak SDK’s capabilities are in full display with the NVIDIA Carter robot. It provides developers a starting point to build their own indoor mobile robot. Carter can drive to a goal location, patrol a building or bring you popcorn.

Carter is designed to use Velodyne’s lidar sensors and a camera to perceive the world. Velodyne’s sensors provide real-time 3D perception data for localization, mapping, object recognition and collision avoidance.

Velodyne and NVIDIA bring complementary capabilities that are vital to autonomous robot development. We are committed to working together to help developers build robots that will change the way we work and live, bringing the dream of robotics to reality.

About Velodyne Lidar

Velodyne Lidar (Nasdaq: VLDR, VLDRW) ushered in a new era of autonomous technology with the invention of real-time surround view lidar sensors. Velodyne, the global leader in lidar, is known for its broad portfolio of breakthrough lidar technologies. Velodyne’s revolutionary sensor and software solutions provide flexibility, quality and performance to meet the needs of a wide range of industries, including autonomous vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), smart cities and security. Through continuous innovation, Velodyne strives to transform lives and communities by advancing safer mobility for all.

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