The Khronos Group has announced the launch of Vulkan Ray Tracing. This comes with initial support via beta drivers to NVidia cards.
This technology is primarily focused on meeting desktop market demand for both real-time and offline rendering. It is released as provisional extensions to enable the developer community to provide feedback before the specifications are finalized.
The motivation for this release comes from the strong developer demand for a truly cross-platform ray tracing acceleration API.
According to the official announcement, Vulkan Ray Tracing consists of a number of Vulkan, SPIR-V, and GLSL extensions, some of which are optional. The primary VK_KHR_ray_tracing extension provides support for acceleration structure building and management, ray tracing shader stages and pipelines, and ray query intrinsics for all shader stages.
You can download the Beta drivers from NVidia here. These drivers are for developers only and should not be used in production or consumer environment. More about this announcement can be found in this presentation.
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