New Look at Star Wars BD Unit Explorer Droids & Tech Behind the Magic

    The cute, impressive BD Unit Explorer Droids made a guest appearance on stage with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang at the GTC conference in San Jose recently. Last October, the droids made a very, very limited-time debut in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to the delight of everyone. The droids are AI-powered, learning how to operate in months, not years. This represents a new approach to robotic characters by Imagineering and Disney Research.

    PHOTOS, VIDEO: Free-Roaming BD Unit Explorer Droids Testing in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
    Imagineering and Disney Research have teamed up to create a truly free-roaming bipedal robotic character for the Disney theme parks

    In the video below, Huang reveals that they are powered by NVIDIA Jetson chips, which allow for AI-powered robots, smart drones, and intelligent cameras. The explorer droids learned to walk using the NVIDIA Isaac Sim platform, which allows for a faster, better way to design, test, and train AI-based robots. It’s powered by Omniverse to deliver scalable, photorealistic, and physically accurate virtual environments for building high-fidelity simulations for the robots to learn.

    Imagineering says designing a bipedal robotic character with the balance and abilities of these robots is impressive, but that they took it a step further by combining procedural animation, modular hardware, and reinforcement learning to program a walking character capable of complex gaits such as a strut, prance, sneak, tromp, shuffle, hustle, saunter or meander.

    Unfortunately, Green didn’t look like it was up for too much exploring of the stage during the presentation, but Orange appeared to do an impressive scan of Huang, showcasing their personality and the ability to interact with the environment.

    Here’s a look back at a previously released video from Imagineering showcasing the development of the droids.

    Imagineering didn’t say if the droids will return to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but the trio of bipedal droids represent a years-long promise of introducing life into Batuu via roaming droids. While Disneyland’s version of Batuu has had various limited-time roaming droids in the past, there have been zero attempts to populate the Hollywood Studios version of the land to our knowledge.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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