Hardware: NVIDIA Jetson Nano
Use Case Provider: Vive Robotics
Application: Tennis ball retriever robot
Industry: Robotics (outdoor activity)
Deployment Location: worldwide(Australia, Canada, Japan, Sweden, Austria, and etc)
Tired of wasting time chasing stray tennis balls? Vive Robotics delivered an amazing ball-retrieving solution powered by the great AI inferencing capability of NVIDIA Jetson Nano, which could save you up to 20% of your on-court playing time and energy. By outsourcing ball retrieval to AI-powered robots, players can enjoy continuous rallies and a more streamlined game experience.
Tennis has experienced a surge in popularity, generating over $6 billion in revenue globally. Prestigious tournaments like Wimbledon and the US Open attract millions of viewers, while participation rates continue to rise, with around 17.84 million tennis players in the US alone. In light of this growing popularity, the limitations of the traditional tennis ball retrieving method with the need for expensive equipment and additional staff become apparent, hindering players’ full enjoyment of the game. However, the tennis ball retriever robot powered by edge AI inferencing and computer vision technology revolutionizes the sport, providing accurate detection, seamless retrieval, and enhanced performance on the court.
Vive Tennis is working towards replacing its ball kids with a highly agile robot, but the process comes with a few challenges. One of which is creating a quick object detection algorithm to spot small objects like tennis balls from a distance. Finding the perfect deep architecture and fine-tuning it for this specific application is proving to be quite the task. It’s not just picking up the tennis ball that’s tricky.
Localizing the robot within the tennis court is another hurdle. Traditional line detection algorithms can be a challenge, particularly on clay courts where soil can cover lines. Losing track of the court lines could hinder the robot’s functionality.
Lastly, since Vive Tennis is aiming to develop a consumer product, the robot must be portable, lightweight, and compact. This means careful processor selection to handle multiple real-time tasks while conserving battery power.
In order to provide an advanced solution for tennis ball retrieval, a combination of cutting-edge technologies and tools is employed.
- The NVIDIA Jetson Nano developer kit – in conjunction with a RGB camera, and time-of-flight sensors, enables the precise perception of the tennis ball and surrounding environment.
- NVIDIA DeepStream toolkit – to further enhance the capabilities of the tennis ball retriever robot, enabling multi-sensor processing and comprehensive video/image analytics. This toolkit provides a powerful platform for real-time analysis and decision-making.
- TensorRT – to optimize the artificial intelligence models for efficient inference on Jetson hardware, TensorRT is utilized to leverage its capabilities to enhance performance.
- YOLOv5 algorithm – renowned for its accuracy in object detection, is seamlessly integrated into the system.
- Robot Operating System (ROS) – for streamlined and effective robot application deployment, offering a flexible and modular framework.
Vive Tennis provides a customized wristband that allows for easy remote play/stop functionality, while the mobile app (only available for Android users currently) lets you adjust settings and upgrade your robot’s firmware.
The workflow of the tennis ball retriever entails an initial phase of ball recognition, followed by the detection and tracking of players. Finally, the robot employs its capabilities to kick the ball back to the player, ensuring an efficient and seamless experience. This sophisticated combination of technologies and tools provides a robust solution for tennis ball retrieval, facilitating enhanced gameplay and improving overall performance on the court.
The deployment of a tennis ball retriever robot has a profound impact on both tennis players and court operators. For players, 15-20% of their precious tennis game time is spent chasing down stray balls. Now the robot eliminates the need for manual ball retrieval, allowing them to fully focus on their game and maintain their competitive edge. The robot’s precise ball detection, quick response times, and seamless retrieval process enhance training sessions and matches, optimizing performance and promoting consistent gameplay.
Meanwhile, by introducing this state-of-the-art robotics and AI technology, club owners can now offer players a seamless experience with uninterrupted rallies and minimal ball retrieval time, since the flexible ownership model enables clubs to rent out the robots and generate a monthly recurring revenue of up to $300 per court, even when operating at only 25% of capacity (60 hours per month). Besides improving the financial performance of tennis facilities, adopting Vive Tennis also enhances the club’s image and attracts more players seeking an immersive and futuristic game experience.
By leveraging advanced technologies like computer vision and object recognition, this innovative solution has the potential to revolutionize the way tennis balls are retrieved and elevates the tennis sport to new heights. Petra Januskova, the Former professional tennis player and tennis coach said, “I personally have experienced firsthand how gameplay improves when there’s a ballboy or a ballgirl, but outside of the professional circle, this is not an option all the tennis players have. And that’s what has me so excited about Vive Tennis. I am always searching for ways to improve my gameplay and the gameplay of my students and removing the need to chase after tennis balls not only saves time but it saves energy and keeps the momentum going, the exciting part is that Vive tennis will be accessible to everyone.”
About Vive Robotics
Vive Robotics is a robot-developing company that is diving into tennis sports and providing game-changing ball retrieving solutions to improve the tennis experience with autonomous robots. With the rich resources of the R&D team, software developers, and computer vision & navigation algorithm experts, Vive Robotics changes the tennis game with the world’s lightest, smallest & fastest AI-powered ball retriever robot. Keep the rally going！
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