Nvidia's robotics research lab opens in Seattle

By Folake Dosu  |  January 15, 2019

robotics-Nvidia-lab-Seattle

Nvidia’s new robotics research lab, a 13,000-foot facility, is officially up and running in Seattle. VentureBeat reports that “the lab will house 50 roboticists, 20 from Nvidia Research staff, and others from the wider academic research community.”

Helming the lab is Dieter Fox, a member of University of Washington computer science faculty. According to the outlet, the location is a strategic decision to tap into the University of Washington robotics ecosystem, including academics such as Human-Centered Robotics Lab director Maya Cakmak.

“The kind of robots that are going to come up that I think are going to be like the next generation of robot, the robot that can perform manipulation task alongside people, which means far more unstructured environment robots, for example, that help people with physical disabilities, robots that could ultimately also be deployed in our homes help us with everyday chores, even with cooking tasks or things like that, but also manufacturing,” Fox told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

“The research community overall, by keeping these smaller independent projects, we’re not making progress on these larger scale systems.”

At the moment, about a dozen projects are in development at the lab, which embraces open source research and plans to disseminate findings at conferences. VentureBeat notes that in recent months Nvidia has shared robotic research with the public. Fox envisions bringing together domain experts across the robotics field, with backgrounds in robot control, perception, computer vision and deep learning, per the outlet. 

“The research community overall, by keeping these smaller independent projects, we’re not making progress on these larger scale systems,” Fox said. “These communities, often they go to their specialized conferences, and there’s not such a strong incentive for them to all work together on joint projects. So what I want to do in this lab here is really make sure that we have an interdisciplinary team of researchers that cover these kind of sub areas that are all relevant for them.”

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