Using the NVIDIA Jetson TK1 embedded supercomputer, these drones can perform autonomous functions beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS), including real-time object identification, target tracking and structural inspections. Machine vision and data from other onboard sensors also enable autonomous collision detection and avoidance. The 4G/LTE solution is available in PerceptoCore, Percepto's computer vision module, first demonstrated at the GPU Technology Conference in April.
Working with Orange Silicon Valley, the Silicon Valley Business Innovation Center of global telecommunications operator, Orange, Percepto will integrate high-broadband mobile connectivity with embedded computer vision to validate the performance and capabilities of connected AI-powered drones in various flight scenarios. The project will enable commercial drones to connect to a 4G/LTE network to handle long distance security, safety and inspection tasks autonomously. Communications, flight and mission control, and video streaming will be always on. The team is also in the process of upgrading to the NVIDIA Jetson TX1 to embed the 4G/LTE module for faster inference capability based on real-time sensor fusion data.
"The Jetson platform brings supercomputer performance for deep learning and computer vision to battery operated autonomous machines and intelligent devices", stated Deepu Talla, vice president and general manager of the Tegra business at NVIDIA. "Percepto and Orange Silicon Valley are taking their drones to new heights with Jetson, highlighting the strength and flexibility of our embedded technology."
"Adding 4G/LTE communications to our onsite, multi-mission drone solution solves long-range communication and control challenges that many of our clients face", stated Dor Abuhasira, CEO of Percepto. "Autonomous commercial drones need access to live video and an analyzed data feed. This solution provides high-quality, always-on drone communication, enabling more inspections and surveillance applications at a fraction of the cost."
Sofrecom, an Orange subsidiary, is one of the world's leading specialists in telecommunications consultancy and engineering, and is exploring how companies could use these technologies, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.
"With state of the art artificial intelligence technology and high-speed mobile connectivity, we envision a future where a network of autonomous unmanned systems can perform complex functions with minimal supervision", stated Jacques Moulin, CEO of Sofrecom. "This has the potential to significantly reduce the operational costs of our customers and partners, particularly in the EMEA region. Reliable low latency connectivity across assets will be one of the key enablers for mission robustness for unmanned systems."