For starters, USPS datacenters will be upgraded to feature NVIDIA's potent V100 Tensor Core GPUs that are trained for multiple AI algorithms. From there, the USPS will deploy those algorithms with NVIDIA EGX edge computing systems at nearly 200 postal facilities across the country. NVIDIA didn't give many specifics about the servers or the cost of the contract, but did say that these EGX systems would be provided by both Hewlett-Packard and Dell.
"We're delighted to be a part of how they bring AI to package data processing," said Anthony Robbins, who serves as VP for NVIDIA's Federal Sector Business. "They believe that by using GPUs from NVIDIA, by using software we have enabled over the last 10 years, and servers from both HPE and Dell, they're going to be able to process data 10 times faster and with higher accuracy.
“The U.S. Postal Service’s adoption of AI demonstrates how this powerful technology can improve an excellent service that we rely on every day. Benjamin Franklin would be proud.”
The USPS is listed as the world's largest postal service, and it processes and delivers over 485 million pieces of mail daily. Over 146 billion pieces of mail are processed annually, of which 6 billion are packages. By leveraging NVIDIA hardware, the USPS will be able to speed up package sorting and tracking by allowing cameras/scanners to read barcode labels with greater accuracy, cutting down on recognition and routing errors.
The performance improvements not only make the transit process from pickup to delivery more efficient, but cutting down on package mishandling also saves money (there are costs and human intervention involved, of course, for packages that are sent to the wrong hub by accident).
The USPS hopes to start integrating the NVIDIA hardware at its facility later this year to begin testing, and it is scheduled to be fully operational in Spring 2020.