Preparing Deep Learning Models for Isaac ROS

Obtaining a Pre-trained Model from NGC

The NVIDIA GPU Cloud hosts a catalog of Deep Learning pre-trained models that are available for your development.

  1. Use the Search Bar to find a pre-trained model that you are interested in working with.

  2. Click on the model’s card to view an expanded description, and then click on the File Browser tab along the navigation bar.

  3. Using the File Browser, find a deployable .etlt file for the model you are interested in.

    Note: The .etlt file extension indicates that this model has pre-trained but encrypted weights, which means one needs to use the tao-converter utility to decrypt the model, as described below.

  4. Under the Actions heading, click on the icon for the file you selected in the previous step, and then click Copy wget command.

  5. Paste the copied command into a terminal to download the model in the current working directory.

Using tao-converter to decrypt the Encrypted TLT Model (.etlt) Format

As discussed above, models distributed with the .etlt file extension are encrypted and must be decrypted before use via NVIDIA’s tao-converter.

tao-converter is already included in the Docker images available as part of the standard Isaac ROS Development Environment.

The per-platform installation paths are described below:


Installation Path

Symlink Path




Jetson (aarch64)



Converting .etlt to a TensorRT Engine Plan

Here are some examples for generating the TensorRT engine file using tao-converter. In this example, we will use the PeopleSemSegnet Shuffleseg model:

Generate an engine file for the fp16 data type

mkdir -p /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/models && \
   /opt/nvidia/tao/tao-converter -k tlt_encode -d 3,544,960 -p input_2:0,1x3x544x960,1x3x544x960,1x3x544x960 -t fp16 -e /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/models/peoplesemsegnet_shuffleseg.engine -o argmax_1 peoplesemsegnet_shuffleseg_etlt.etlt


The specific values used in the command above are retrieved from the PeopleSemSegnet page under the Overview tab.The model input node name and output node name can be found in peoplesemsegnet_shuffleseg_cache.txt from File Browser. The output file is specified using the -e option. The tool needs write permission to the output directory.

A detailed explanation of the input parameters is available here.

Generate an engine file for the data type int8

Create the models directory:

mkdir -p /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/models
Download the calibration cache file:


Check the model’s page on NGC for the latest wget command.

/opt/nvidia/tao/tao-converter -k tlt_encode -d 3,544,960 -p input_2:0,1x3x544x960,1x3x544x960,1x3x544x960 -t int8 -c peoplesemsegnet_shuffleseg_cache.txt -e /workspaces/isaac_ros-dev/models/peoplesemsegnet_shuffleseg.engine -o argmax_1 peoplesemsegnet_shuffleseg_etlt.etlt


The calibration cache file (specified using the -c option) is required to generate the int8 engine file. This file is provided in the File Browser tab of the model’s page on NGC.