Turing hardware generated optical flow map sample --- source footage

Optical Flow SDK exposes the latest hardware capability of Turing GPUs dedicated to computing the relative motion of pixels between images. The hardware uses sophisticated algorithms to yield highly accurate flow vectors, which are robust to frame-to-frame intensity variations, and track the true object motion. Computation of these flow vectors is faster than most other available methods at comparable accuracy, with very little load on CPU or GPU, as the vectors are computed on dedicated hardware which is independent of the GPU’s CUDA cores.

Key Features

NVIDIA Optical Flow SDK exposes a new set of APIs for this hardware functionality:

  • C-API – Windows and Linux
    • Windows – CUDA and DirectX
    • Linux – CUDA
  • Granularity: 4x4 vectors at ¼ pixel resolution
    • Raw vectors – directly from hardware
    • Pre-/post-processed vectors via algorithms to improve accuracy
  • Accuracy: low average EPE (End-Point-Error) and outliers
  • Performance: Up to 150 fps at 4K resolution*
  • Robust to intensity changes
  • OpenCV integration (GitHub)
*Clock and preset dependent
Operating System Windows, Linux

NVIDIA GeForce, Quadro and Tesla products with Turing generation GPUs (except TU117).

NVIDIA Linux display driver 435.21 or newer
NVIDIA Windows display driver 436.15 or newer

Development Environment GCC 5.1 or newer
C/C++ Compiler
CUDA Toolkit

Download Optical Flow SDK 1.1

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Until a few years ago, tasks such as recognizing and tracking an object or classifying an action in video streams were out of reach for computers due to complexity involved. With the advent of DNNs and massive acceleration made possible by GPUs, all these tasks can now be automated. One of the most important applications of optical flow is to track objects within video frames.

The following diagram illustrates a network which uses optical flow for improving the accuracy of video action recognition:

Optical Flow also benefits many other use cases including: Stereo depth estimation, video frame interpolation and extrapolation. For example, Oculus uses NVIDIA optical flow for improving the VR experience (details)

Optical Flow functionality in Turing GPUs accelerates these use-cases by offloading the intensive flow vector computation to a dedicated hardware engine on the GPU silicon, thereby freeing up GPU and CPU cycles for other tasks. This functionality in hardware is independent of CUDA cores.

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Additional Resources