GTC 2024 and R-24 Recap

The Robot Report editorial director Gene Demaitre recently returned from the international R-24 event in Odense Denmark March 13-15, 2024. From this trip, he immediately headed out to San Jose CA to attend the NVIDIA GTC24 event with senior editor, Mike Oitzman.

In this episode, Gene and Mike talk about what Gene learned and what he saw during his visit to Odense. From there, the cohosts discuss their experience at the GTC24 event, and all of the interesting sessions on AI and robotics, the NVIDIA product announcements for robotics together with the product demos from vendors who exhibited on the show floor.

R-24: Robots, Automation, and Drones

  • Odense Robotics is one of the largest robotics clusters in the world, with 350 members across Denmark, about half of which are in the Odense area.
  • It employs about 18,000 people, with plans to double that over the next decade
  • Among the interesting things the international delegations saw was Odense Port, which is now building giant wind turbines in addition to maintaining container ships.
  • The delegation visited the drone center at the Hans Christian Andersen Airport, which has a big airspace corridor for testing; the Danish Technological Institute, which hosts the Odense Robotics Startup Fund; and the Maersk-McKinney Moller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark.
  • Odense is also hosting ROSCon this year.
  • Event website:


News announced at the GTC24 event:

New foundation for humanoid robotics

The big news from the robotics side of the house is that NVIDIA launched a new general-purpose foundation model for humanoid robots called Project GR00T. This new model is designed to bring robotics and embodied AI together while enabling the robots to understand natural language and emulate movements by observing human actions.

GR00T uses the new Jetson Thor

As part of its robotics announcements, NVIDIA unveiled Jetson Thor for humanoid robots, based on the NVIDIA Thor system-on-a-chip (SoC). Significant upgrades to the NVIDIA Isaac robotics platform include generative AI foundation models and tools for simulation and AI workflow infrastructure.

The Thor SoC includes a next-generation GPU based on NVIDIA Blackwell architecture with a transformer engine delivering 800 teraflops of 8-bit floating-point AI performance. With an integrated functional safety processor, a high-performance CPU cluster, and 100GB of Ethernet bandwidth, it can simplify design and integration efforts, claimed the company.

NVIDIA updates Isaac simulation platform

The Isaac tools that GR00T uses are capable of creating new foundation models for any robot embodiment in any environment, according to NVIDIA. Among these tools are Isaac Lab for reinforcement learning, and OSMO, a compute orchestration service.

NVIDIA DRIVE Thor for robot axis

The company also announced NVIDIA DRIVE Thor, which now supersedes NVIDIA DRIVE Orin as a SoC for autonomous driving applications.

Other notable sessions (worth watching the replays):

  • Geordie ROSE – CEO of Sanctuary: “Using Omniverse to generate first-person experiential data for humanoid robots”
  • Aaron Saunders – CTO of Boston Dynamics: “Deploying AI in real-world robots”
  • Vincent Vanhouke – Google Deepmind: “Robotics in the Age of GenAI”

Interesting robots seen at GTC24:

  • Agility DIGIT (static)
  • Apptronik Apollo (Static)
  • Unitree H1
  • 1X Eve
  • Fourier Analysis – GR1
  • Disney BD-X droids
  • ANYbotics ANYmal
  • Enchanted Tools Mirokai
  • Richtech Robotics ADAM

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