The much-awaited CES 2018 is already underway in Las Vegas, and is the perfect venue for the graphic-chip maker Nvidia to announce its partnership with Uber and Volkswagen to capture its share in the growing autonomous vehicle market. After Baidu and Tesla, this is a big win for the chipmaker as it competes with others like Intel and Qualcomm in the potentially growing autonomous vehicle market.
The ride-hailing giant, Uber, is already using Nvidia’s hardware quietly for its self-driving fleet of Volvo XC90s deployed in 2016, completing more than 50,000 passenger trips and logging over two million miles of autonomous driving. The partnership, however, is now official and it shows that both the companies are looking forward to working together in future autonomous vehicle applications.
“Developing safe, reliable autonomous vehicles requires sophisticated AI software and a high-performance GPU computing engine in the vehicle,” Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, mentioned in a statement. “Nvidia is a key technology provider to Uber as we bring scalable self- driving cars and trucks to market.”
Nvidia is also going to provide its technology to the German automaker Volkswagen for vehicle automation and driver assistance features powered by Artificial Intelligence. VW is already planning to launch a number of all-electric vehicles in the coming years, such as I.D. Crozz and I.D. Buzz, which will be using Nvidia’s technology for developing autonomous driving systems.
The chipmaker will also collaborate with VW to develop “Intelligent Co-Pilot” capabilities for future Volkswagen vehicles using its new Drive IX platform. Features such as facial recognition, voice and gesture control along with gaze tracking to monitor driver distraction are all expected to be integrated in future VW vehicles that will be powered by Nvidia AI.
“In just a few years, every new vehicle will be expected to have AI assistants for voice, gesture and facial recognition as well as augmented reality,” Huang said. “Volkswagen’s work with NVIDIA DRIVE IX technology will make that a reality. Together, we are building a new generation of cars that are safer, more enjoyable to ride in than anything that has come before, and accessible to everyone.”
As of now, Nvidia is working with more than 320 companies globally on automotive applications including Tesla, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz, making use of Nvidia Drive AI platforms. The company also announced its first Drive Xavier autonomous machine processors which will be delivered to customers this quarter. The system on a chip is capable of delivering 30 trillion operations per second and will play a major role in powering the Drive AI platforms.
On Sunday, Nvidia also announced plans to create a production-ready AI autonomous vehicle platform designed for China, in collaboration with Baidu, the Chinese internet giant and ZF, the German car parts manufacturer. The system developed by these companies will make use of Xavier processors from Nvidia, sensors and camera from ZF while autonomous software system called Apollo Pilot from Baidu.