idealworks is a new BMW subsidiary focusing on accelerating the adoption of autonomous logistics. The company is pursuing a world where the automation of intralogistics workflows in industrial environments has maximised efficiency and provided new value to personnel in the workforce. This can only be achieved by combining industry-leading computing power with reliable hardware. Powering the iw.hub is the first compact industrialized computer, the Nvidia AGX GPU - now rebranded as the idealworks AD-link
THE CHIP BEHIND THE AD-LINK
Nvidia's Jetson AGX Xavier card is the heart of idealworks AD-Link. The powerful chip supports end-to-end robotic applications for production, delivery, and complex data processing. idealworks integrates the Xavier in the iw.hub to manage its onboard object detection algorithm and reference real data inputs against synthetic data from a simulation environment.
A hard surface workflow was chosen as the ideal approach to modelling the Xavier. This allowed us to pay attention to detail while making full use of blenders particle engine to streamline the modelling process and allow for quick updates to component groups whenever necessary.
During the modelling phase, I began testing procedural texture compositions to provide my team with texture concepts. As my initial roll for the project involved modelling the 2 PCB contained within the AD-Link, I generated multiple PCB textures using blenders onboard node engine. Subtract math nodes were used when combining data inputs from two Voronoi nodes set to Chebychev; this provided me with the foundation to drive the rest of the textures parametric properties. My procedural building environment is featured below showcasing the circuit texture as well as some early applications of the material.
PBR path-tracing friendly materials are fast becoming an industry standard as they achieve consistent realistic results and integrate within emerging platforms such as unreal engine 5 and Nvidia's Omniverse. We future-proofed our design by choosing a PBR workflow as a final texturing solution.
To provide an accurate interpretation of a PCB board while maximizing the textile density to keep file sizes low, we explored the use of UDIMs and shared UV space techniques. The result was a robust and flexible PCB design with modularity and pre-designed features for future iterative changes.
In our final version of the AD-Link, purple was chosen as the housing colour as it reflected the brand's identity. We adopted the changes by editing the diffuse texture input and re-applying the metallic and roughness maps from our original design - the material build-up is displayed below.
"The visual direction created for the idealworks AD-Link was to be able to display the cutting edge technology that drives the iw.hub to perform complex tasks in a fully industrialized environment. We wanted to create something short, simple and not overly complicated. The idea was to simply show customers a quick overview of the iw.hub's 'brains' and why it is able to perform as one of the world's leading autonomous logistics robots" - Timothy Lim
The AGX card is part of a much larger BMW project that deals with autonomous factory logistics and digital twin simulations. The idealworks IW.HUB is one of the first ventures to integrate the new technology and showcases the very best of Nvidia's groundbreaking graphical processing power with the combined manufacturing technology of German automotive engineering. Read more about the IW.HUB project at the link below.