Lockheed helps crews fight wildfires with simulation

Simulations, including digital twins, have been gaining ground, helping organizations test robotics and autonomous vehicles more efficiently and cheaply than with real-world tests or processes. 

The capabilities have moved well beyond building computer games to assessing real-life challenges including wildfires.

Lockheed Martin is using sims of wildfires to help rescue workers and firefighters judge how a fire might progress so they can judge how to respond.

The simulations “help us to predict how quickly and in which directions [wildfires] spread and to explore the effects of environmental variables like wind, moisture and ground cover on their behavior, fo firefighting teams can better respond and reduc their damaging impact,” said Shashi Bhushan, principal AI software and systems architect at Lockheed in a statement.

Bhushan said the ultimate goal is to develop models to coordinate sensor data and real-time analysis to inform an AI that would guide varied levels of human interaction by firefighting teams.

Lockheed is creating the wildfire simulations in NvidiaOmniverse Enterprise,  a simulation and collaboration platform for enterprises that took on steam by  Nvidia in April with the unveiling of a BMW factory digital twin.  Lockheed does the work on RTX laptops remotely accessing eight Nvidia A40s.

RELATED: BMW features digital factory twin at Nvidia GTC21

On Tuesday, Nvidia announced at Siggraph 2021 that Lockheed has joined about 500 other companies in evaluating Omniverse.  Others include SHoP Architects and South Park, an animated television series, which sees the value of allowing multiple animators the ability to collaborate on a single scene.South Park plans to run Omniverse on Nvidia’s RTX A6000 GPUs.

Nvidia also announced it has added RTX A2000 to its GPU lineup with a dual slot design that is about the size of a thick smartphone. It provides 6 GB of GDDR6 ECC (Error Correction Code)  memory, and up to 8 TFLOPS of processing, selling for $450 starting in October. It is designed to  perform well for desktop workstations, helping enable edge computing capabilities. 

Nvidia RTX A2000
Nvidia's new RTX A2000 GPU for workstatiions (Nvidia) 


At Siggraph, Nvidia showed how the wildfire simulation can depict how fast a wildfire can spread and how to help firefighters learn where to cut vegetation away in its path.  The idea is to help firefighters know how to manage and control a fire before it gets too wild.

Omniverse Enterprise is coming later in 2021 on a subscription basis from Nvidia partners such as Asus, Boxx Technologies, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Supermicro, Nvidia said.

Omniverse Enterprise will costs $14,000 per year for a workgroup of five concurrent 3D creators.  The NvidiaOmniverse platform, now in open beta, will “always be free for individuals,” Nvidia said.

Nvidia also announced Wednesday that Ominverse now has new integrations with Blender and Adobe, giving access to more developers.  Blender, a 3D animation tool, will now have Universal Scene Description support, while Adobe is bringing Substance Material support.