All posts in “nvidia”

New techniques teach drones to fly through small holes

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Researchers at the University of Maryland are adapting the techniques used by birds and bugs to teach drones how to fly through small holes at high speeds. The drone requires only a few sensing shots to define the opening and lets a larger drone fly through an irregularly shaped hole with no training.

Nitin J. Sanket, Chahat Deep Singh, Kanishka Ganguly, Cornelia Fermüller, and Yiannis Aloimonos created the project, called GapFlyt, to teach drones using only simple, insect-like eyes.

The technique they used, called optical flow, creates a 3D model using a very simple, monocular camera. By marking features in each subsequent picture, the drone can tell the shape and depth of holes based on what changed in each photo. Things closer to the drone move more than things further away, allowing the drone to see the foreground vs. the background.

As you can see in the video below, the researchers have created a very messy environment in which to test their system. The Bebop 2 drone with an NVIDIA Jetson TX2 GPU on board flits around the hole like a bee and then buzzes right through at 2 meters per second, a solid speed. Further, the researchers confused the environment by making the far wall similar to the closer wall, proving that the technique can work in novel and messy situations.

The team at the University of Maryland’s Perception and Robotics Group reported that the drone was 85 percent accurate as it flew through various openings. It’s not quite as fast as Luke skirting Beggar’s Canyon back on Tatooine, but it’s an impressive start.

Watch Nvidia unveil the RTX 2080 live right here

Nvidia is taking advantage of the Gamescom in Germany to hold a press conference about its future graphics processing units. The conference will start at 6 PM in Germany, 12 PM in New York, 9 AM in San Francisco.

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Just a week after the company unveiled its new Turing architecture, Nvidia could share more details about the configurations and prices of its upcoming products — the RTX 2080, RTX 2080 Ti, etc.

The name of the conference #BeForeTheGame suggests that Nvidia is going to focus on consumer products and in particular GPUs for gamers. While the GeForce GTX 1080 is still doing fine when it comes to playing demanding games, the company is always working on new generations to push the graphical boundaries of your computer.

According to Next INpact, you can expect two different products this afternoon. The GeForce RTX 2080 is going to feature 2,944 CUDA cores with 8GB of GDDR6. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti could feature as many as 4,352 CUDA cores with 11GB of GDDR6.

Nvidia already unveiled Quadro RTX models for professional workstations last week. The company is expecting significant performance improvements with this new generation as those GPUs are optimized for ray tracing — the “RT” in RTX stands for ray tracing.

While ray tracing isn’t new, it’s hard to process images using this method with current hardware. The RTX GPUs will have dedicated hardware units for this task in particular.

And maybe it’s going to become easier to buy GPUs now that the cryptocurrency mining craze is slowly fading away.

Microsoft is building low-cost, streaming-only Xbox, says report

It was revealed at E3 last month that Microsoft was building a cloud gaming system. A report today calls that system Scarlett Cloud and it’s only part of Microsoft next-gen Xbox strategy. And it makes a lot of sense, too.

According to Thurrott.com, noted site for all things Microsoft, the next Xbox will come in two flavors. One, will be a traditional gaming console where games are processed locally. You know, like how it works on game systems right now. The other system will be a lower-powered system that will stream games from the cloud — most likely, Microsoft’s Azure cloud.

This streaming system will still have some processing power, which is in part to counter latency traditionally associated with streaming games. Apparently part of the game will run locally while the rest is streamed to the system.

The streaming Xbox will likely be available at a much lower cost than the traditional Xbox. And why not. Microsoft has sold Xbox systems with a slim profit margin, relying on sales of games and online services to make up the difference. A streaming service that’s talk about on Thurrott would further take advantage of this model while tapping into Microsoft’s deep understanding of cloud computing.

A few companies have tried streaming full video games. Onlive was one of the first and while successful for a time, but eventually went through a dramatic round of layoffs before a surprise sale for $4.8 million in 2012. Sony offers an extensive library of PS2, PS3 and PS4 games for streaming through its PlayStation Now service. Nvidia got into the streaming game this year and offers a small selection of streaming through GeForce Now. But these are all side projects for the companies.

Sony and Nintendo do not have the global cloud computing platform of Microsoft, and if Microsoft’s streaming service hits, it could change the landscape and force competitors to reevaluate everything.

This is the first look at Nvidia’s wild new 750,000 sq ft building

Nvidia is preparing a new, massive building in Santa Clara, CA and this is it. Called Voyager, it will be larger than the building Nvidia just finished constructing by 250,000 square feet. And just like the other building, Endeavor, Voyager will share the same wild, distinctly Nvidia design.

Nvidia opened the first building, Endeavor, in 2017 and it feels like if a person could go into an Nvidia GPU. There’s green and sharp angles everywhere. Triangle skylights pepper the roof, which is also a triangle. It’s just two stories due to local zoning laws and it appears the new building will following much of the same trends.

Voyager will be 750,000 square feet and situated next to the Endeavor in Santa Clara. This puts the combined buildings’ square-footage at 1.25 million, which is a little less than half of Apple’s new HQ in Cupertino. Nvidia tells me the company is still planning the building’s staffing but expects the building will house its growing engineer teams. The company has 11,500 employees around the world with 5,000 in Santa Clara.

Nvidia is using Gensler to design the building and it will be constructed by Devcon, the same companies tapped for the first building. Construction is expected to start next month and take up to three and a half years.

I asked Nvidia why these buildings are named after notable spacecraft. The response is interesting. Endeavor and Voyager have the initial sounds of “En” and “V”, hence the initial sounds of Nvidia, while the names also suggest a sense of pushing frontiers. Cheesy? A bit, but still clever and I’ll buy it.

Tesla updates user interface, web browser in older Model S and Model X vehicles

A new update is bringing an improved user interface to older Tesla vehicles. According to this report citing forum users, the v8.1 (2018.12) update improves the speed and capability in Model S and Model X vehicles equipped with an Nvidia Tegra 3-powered MCU. This was expected; Musk stated in late December 2017 that Tesla was working to improve the browser for all its vehicles.

Users discovered the browser speed is dramatically faster, able to download at an average of over 5 Mbps. HTML5 capabilities also improved. This is just the latest in Tesla’s on-going mission to improve its vehicles after customers buy them.

Tesla launched the Model S with the Tegra 3 SoC and ran with it until late 2017 when the company switched to new x86_64-powered MCUs. Last month Elon Musk confirmed through Twitter that it was possible to retrofit older vehicles with new MCUs.

Though possible to upgrade older vehicles, it’s better for the consumer, and likely for the company, to upgrade existing hardware than make drivers bring in vehicles for a hardware upgrade.

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