Nvidia is hoping to make your drones a lot smarter.
The company on Tuesday announced a new drone-focused processor, called the Jetson TX1 module. The chip, which is about the size of a credit card and has a whopping 1 teraflops of performance, will intelligently navigate a drone based on pre-programmed artificial intelligence. In order to achieve such functionality, the chip will use neural networks, or computer software that is capable of recognizing objects and responding accordingly.
“The Jetson TX1 module addresses the challenge of creating a new wave of millions of smart devices—drones that don’t just fly by remote control, but navigate their way through a forest for search and rescue; compact security surveillance systems that don’t just scan crowds, but identify suspicious activity; and robots that don’t just perform tasks, but tailor them to individuals’ habits—by incorporating capabilities such as machine learning, computer vision, navigation and more,” the company said in a statement.
The Jetson could add a new level of usability to drones that are already on the market. Drones are largely “dumb” devices that require user input in order to fly. Nvidia is hoping that its technology will make it easier for drones to autonomously perform tasks without requring so much—if any—user input.
“Jetson TX1 will enable a new generation of incredibly capable autonomous devices,” Deepu Talla, vice president and general manager of the Tegra business at Nvidia, said in a statement. “They will navigate on their own, recognize objects and faces, and become increasingly intelligent through machine learning. It will enable developers to create industry-changing products.”
Interestingly, the Jetson TX1 will be available as a module, so both companies and consumers who want to create new technologies will be able to use it. Several companies and organizations have already signed on to the program, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Berkeley Design Technology.
In a separate announcement on Tuesday, Nvidia and Kespry, an automated commercial drone company, showed off a prototype drone that uses the Jetson. Kespry says that the autonomous functioning could be used by its customers in the areas of materials, mining, and construction.
The Jetson TX1 Developer Kit will be available to customers on Nov. 12 for $599. Those who want to buy 1,000 or more Nvidia modules will pay $299 per unit.