GTC Japan — Komatsu, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction and mining equipment, has selected NVIDIA as its partner to bring AI to jobsites, making them safer and more efficient, NVIDIA announced today.
The partnership – described at GTC Japan by NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang – 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 Huang, speaking at NVIDIA’s final of seven global GPU Technology Conferences 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 is the latest in a series of industries in which NVIDIA has signed agreements with market leaders to help revolutionize how they operate. Among these are partnerships with GE Healthcare and Nuance in the area of medical imaging; FANUC in the field of robotics; and more than 225 car makers, startups and research houses – among them, Audi, Tesla, Toyota and Volvo – for autonomous driving.
Construction Industry Primed for AI’s Benefits
Safety risks and inefficiencies in the construction industry make it particularly well suited for improvements powered by AI.
Construction sites are generally considered among the more dangerous workplaces because of the presence of heavy equipment, uneven terrain and continuous activity. Last year, sites in Japan alone recorded some 300 deaths and more than 15,000 injuries, according to the Japan Construction Occupational Safety and Health Association.
And Japan’s construction industry is particularly challenged because of the nation’s severe labor shortage due to an aging population. Of the 3.4 million skilled workers in the domestic industry (as of 2014), roughly 1.1 million, or one-third, are likely to leave in the next decade, according to the Japan Federation of Construction Contractors.