Nvidia Announces GR00T, a Foundation Model for Humanoids

Nvidia Announces GR00T, a Foundation Model for Humanoids

Nvidia’s ongoing GTC developer conference in San Jose is, unsurprisingly, almost entirely about AI this year. But in between the AI developments, Nvidia has also made a couple of significant robotics announcements.

First, there’s Project GR00T (with each letter and number pronounced individually so as not to invoke the wrath of Disney), a foundation model for humanoid robots. And secondly, Nvidia has committed to be the founding platinum member of the Open Source Robotics Alliance, a new initiative from the Open Source Robotics Foundation intended to make sure that the Robot Operating System (ROS), a collection of open-source software libraries and tools, has the support that it needs to flourish.


First, let’s talk about GR00T (short for “Generalist Robot 00 Technology”). The way that Nvidia presenters enunciated it letter-by-letter during their talks strongly suggests that in private they just say “Groot.” So the rest of us can also just say “Groot” as far as I’m concerned.

As a “general-purpose foundation model for humanoid robots,” GR00T is intended to provide a starting point for specific humanoid robots to do specific tasks. As you might expect from something being presented for the first time at an Nvidia keynote, it’s awfully vague at the moment, and we’ll have to get into it more later on. Here’s pretty much everything useful that Nvidia has told us so far:

“Building foundation models for general humanoid robots is one of the most exciting problems to solve in AI today,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “The enabling technologies are coming together for leading roboticists around the world to take giant leaps towards artificial general robotics.”

Robots powered by GR00T… will be designed to understand natural language and emulate movements by observing human actions—quickly learning coordination, dexterity and other skills in order to navigate, adapt and interact with the real world.

This sounds good, but that “will be” is doing a lot of heavy lifting. Like, there’s a very significant “how” missing here. More specifically, we’ll need a better understanding of what’s underlying this foundation model—is there real robot data under there somewhere, or is it based on a massive amount of simulation? Are the humanoid robotic companies involved contributing data to improve GR00T, or instead training their own models based on it? It’s certainly notable that Nvidia is name-dropping most of the heavy-hitters in commercial humanoids, including 1X Technologies, Agility Robotics, Apptronik, Boston Dynamics, Figure AI, Fourier Intelligence, Sanctuary AI, Unitree Robotics, and XPENG Robotics. We’ll be able to check in with some of those folks directly this week to hopefully learn more.

On the hardware side, Nvidia is also announcing a new computing platform called Jetson Thor:

Jetson Thor was created as a new computing platform capable of performing complex tasks and…

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The post “Nvidia Announces GR00T, a Foundation Model for Humanoids” by Evan Ackerman was published on 03/19/2024 by spectrum.ieee.org