Komatsu has selected NVIDIA as its partner to bring AI (artificial intelligence) to jobsites, making them safer and more efficient, NVIDIA announced today.
The partnership will focus on Komatsu using NVIDIA GPUs to visualize and analyze entire construction sites. The NVIDIA Jetson AI platform will serve as the 'brain' of heavy machinery deployed on these sites, enabling improved safety and productivity.
“Artificial intelligence is sweeping across industries, and its next frontier is autonomous intelligent machines,” said Jensen Huang, NVIDIA founder and CEO speaking at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference this year. “Future machines will perceive their surroundings and be continuously alert, helping operators work more efficiently and safely. The construction and mining industries will benefit greatly from these advances.”
Construction sites are among the most dangerous workplaces in industry. Safety risks and inefficiencies in the construction industry make it particularly well suited for improvements powered by AI.
In 2015, Komatsu began rolling out its “Smart Construction” initiative, connecting data related to onsite workers and objects to make worksites safer and more productive. The initiative has been introduced in more than 4,000 sites across the country, with plans to expand both domestically and internationally.
Extending the initiative, Komatsu will use NVIDIA technology to create 3D visualizations of construction sites, showing the real-time interaction of people, machinery and objects. Costly onsite equipment can be closely monitored to ensure it is used with optimal efficiency.
NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPU) will communicate with drones and cameras in the construction sites, acting as an AI platform for analysis and visualization. SkyCatch will provide drones to gather and map 3D images for visualizing the terrain at the edge. OPTiM, an IoT management-software company, will provide an application to identify individuals and machinery collected from surveillance cameras. Both of these Komatsu partners are also members of NVIDIA’s Inception program for AI startups.
At the center of the collaboration is NVIDIA Jetson, a credit-card sized platform that delivers AI computing at the edge. Working in tandem with NVIDIA cloud technology, Jetson will power cameras mounted on Komatsu’s construction equipment and enable 360-degree views to readily identify people and machines nearby to prevent collisions and other accidents.
Jetson will also be used in stereo cameras located in the cabs of construction machines to help assess rapidly changing conditions in real time and instruct the driver accordingly. Future applications include high-resolution rendering and virtual simulations of construction and mining sites along with automated control of machinery.
“We’ll start integrating NVIDIA GPUs into our construction sites,” said Yuichi Iwamoto, senior executive officer, chief technology officer at Komatsu. “By leveraging NVIDIA’s experience in image processing, virtualization and AI, we can further transform construction areas into jobsites of the future.”