Locomation and Blackshark.ai Innovate in Real and Virtual Dimensions at GTC

NVIDIA DRIVE ecosystem members announce latest autonomous technology and virtual environments.
by Katie Burke

The NVIDIA DRIVE ecosystem is going multidimensional.

During the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference this week, autonomous trucking startup Locomation and simulation company Blackshark.ai announced technological developments powered by NVIDIA DRIVE.

Locomation, a Pittsburgh-based provider of autonomous trucking technology, said it would integrate NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin in the upcoming rollout of its platooning system on public roads in 2022.

Innovating in the virtual world, Blackshark.ai detailed its toolset to create buildings and landscape assets for simulation environments on NVIDIA DRIVE Sim.

Together, these announcements mark milestones in the path toward safer, more efficient autonomous transportation.

Shooting for the Platoon

Locomation recently announced its first commercial system, Autonomous Relay Convoy, which allows one driver to pilot a lead truck while a fully autonomous follower truck operates in tandem.

The ARC system will be deployed with Wilson Logistics, which will operate more than 1,000 Locomation-equipped trucks, powered by NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin, starting in 2022.

NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin is a highly advanced software-defined platform for autonomous vehicles.  The system features the new Orin system-on-a-chip, which delivers more than 200 trillion operations per second — nearly 7x the performance of NVIDIA’s previous-generation Xavier SoC.

In August, Locomation and Wilson Logistics successfully completed the first-ever on-road pilot program transporting commercial freight using ARC. Two Locomation trucks, hauling Wilson Logistics trailers and freight, were deployed on a 420-mile long route along I-84 between Portland, Ore., and Nampa, Idaho. This stretch of interstate has some of the most challenging road conditions for truck driving, with curvatures, inclines and wind gusts.

“We’re moving rapidly toward autonomous trucking commercialization, and NVIDIA DRIVE presents a solution for providing a robust, safety-forward platform for our team to work with,” said Çetin Meriçli, CEO and cofounder of Locomation.

Constructing a New Dimension

While Locomation is deploying autonomous vehicles in the real world, Blackshark.ai is making it easier to create building and landscape assets used to enhance the virtual world on a global scale.

The startup has developed a digital twin platform that uses AI and cloud computing to automatically transform satellite data, aerial images or map and sensor data into building, landscape and infrastructure assets that contribute to a semantic photorealistic 3D environment.

During the opening GTC keynote, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang showcased the technology on NVIDIA DRIVE Sim. DRIVE Sim uses high-fidelity simulation to create a safe, scalable and cost-effective way to bring self-driving vehicles to our roads.

It taps into the computing horsepower of NVIDIA RTX GPUs to deliver a powerful, scalable, cloud-based computing platform. One that is capable of generating billions of qualified miles for autonomous vehicle testing.

In the demo video, Blackshark’s AI automatically generated the trees and buildings used to reconstruct the city of San Jose in simulation for an immersive, authentic environment.

These latest announcements from Locomation and Blackshark.ai demonstrate the breadth of the DRIVE ecosystem, spanning the real and virtual worlds to push autonomous innovation further.

Watch NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang recap all the news from GTC. It’s not too late to get access to hundreds of live and on-demand talks — register now through Oct. 9 using promo code CMB4KN to get 20 percent off.