Nvidia has opened a multi-million-dollar robotics research laboratory in Seattle, Washington.
The 3,960 sqm facility will house 50 roboticists, 20 from Nvidia Research staff, and others from the wider academic research community.
Dieter Fox, a member of University of Washington computer science faculty, is the director of the lab. Seattle was chosen as the location, with the research centre in the same building that houses the University’s CoMotion Lab.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said Seattle was the natural choice.
“Because of the University of Washington, because of Microsoft, because of Amazon, this has become one of the great hubs of computer science,” he said. “And so it made sense that we thought about this area.”
The lab includes an Ikea kitchen where experiments will be conducted. A kitchen manipulator robot is being developed using the Nvidia Jetson platform for navigation.
Eventually, Nvidia aims to create software packages or specialised hardware that would come pre-programmed to do kitchen tasks.
Creation of cobots
Dieter Fox said 3D computer models of kitchen environments – or any home environments – could become standard applications that are handed over whenever someone moves into a new home or remodels an old one.
Part of the lab’s focus will be the creation of cobots, robots that can be easily programmed and collaborate with people.
More than 10 major projects are currently being conducted at the lab. All of the results from the lab’s experiments will be published openly, with the aim of creating an operating system that can be used in a wide range of robots.
The lab will bring together world experts in areas like robot control, perception, computer vision, and deep learning to help solve many of the big challenges now facing industry.
Last year, Nvidia opened a deep learning research lab last year in Toronto, Canada. In total, Nvidia Research has more than 200 employees worldwide.
Nvidia’s headquarters is in California’s Silicon Valley with nearly 200 employees working at an engineering centre in Redmond, Washington.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang at Nvidia’s robotics research lab in Seattle (Nvidia Photo)