Computer hardware maker Nvidia has announced that it will work with Chinese online retail giant JD.com to help develop an outdoor robotics initiative that aims to put as many as a million drones in the skies above China within the next five years.
This recent development emanates out of JD X, the e-commerce company’s innovation lab. The e-commerce giant has invested heavily in drone research and alread the e-tailer says it’s managed to reduce logistics costs by up to 70 per cent in making deliveries to more remote communities in China.
JDrone and JDrover are two new robots, the former aerial and the latter ground-based, that will use Nvidia’s Jetson platform for embedded AI-based navigation intelligence.
The land-based JDrover is going to be put to use for last-mile deliveries starting on university campuses in China, including at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, as well as at Bejing’s Tsighua University and Renmin University of China. JD and Nvidia say hundreds of the units, which are essentially small cargo containers atop four wheels, will be rolled out across university campuses in the country over the course of the next year.
JD is using Nvidia’s Jetson platform to give the autonomous rolling robots the ability to navigate streets and even weave through crowds of passengers, as well as obey traffic lights and street signs, all thanks to on board image processing and analysis made possible via Nvidia’s Jetson.
JDrone on the other hand, can fly up to about 100 km/h, and carry as much as 30kg (although ones capable of carrying up to 180 kg are said to already be in testing). JD hopes to have as many as one million of these cargo drones flying over the next half-decade, in order to deliver goods including food and medicine, as well as spray pesticides for crops and even engage in search and rescue missions.