Nvidia just boosted its self-driving car tech in a major way
Nvidia wants to drive your car.
The company, known for its mobile chips and graphics tech, announced partnerships with Bosch, the largest automotive supplier in the world, and PACCAR, a major truck manufacturer, to develop self-driving vehicle systems.
Nvidia already has deals in place with automakers like Mercedes-Benz and Audi — but these new partnerships will give the chipmaker even more clout in the self-driving arena, which includes Google, Uber and others.
This is just latest big news from a computing company looking to create its own AI system for self-driving vehicles — earlier this week, Intel acquired Mobileye in a deal worth over $15 billion that also was focused on the development of autonomous platforms. Specific terms of the Nvidia partnerships weren’t disclosed, but they both centers around Nvidia’s Drive PX AI car computer platform — but they’re chasing different goals.
The Bosch computer will utilize Nvidia’s upcoming AI car "superchip," called Xavier, which is slated to be the world’s first single-chip processor designed for Level 4 autonomous driving. That means the car will be able to handle all driving responsibilities automatically without the need for human intervention. However, that’s limited to "some driving modes."
The Bosch system, meant for mass production and distribution to multiple buyers, is set to hit the market by 2020, according to a Reuters report. That would undercut the 2021 goals of automakers like Ford and BMW, whose self-driving platform is coming from Intel and Mobileye. If Nvidia can make it to market first, Bosch’s presence in the automotive space could help open doors with carmakers that haven’t developed their own self-driving platforms.
The PACCAR partnership is a bit different. PACCAR actually manufactures trucks, so the project isn’t focused on producing a mass-marketable system for multiple automakers. PACCAR has already begun to work with Nvidia on an autonomous truck, and Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang used the BWC stage to show off a video of the semi-tractor trailer handling a closed course without a driver.
PACCAR’s truck could take the road against rigs from other manufacturers like Embark and Otto.