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When Will Nvidia See Revenue from Autonomous Cars?

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Nvidia’s Automotive segment

Nvidia (NVDA) is set to report strong revenue growth in the data center space as its Tesla GPUs (graphics processing units) make their way into servers and supercomputers. Another segment where Nvidia is hitting the road is in automotive.

Nvidia’s Automotive segment has been reporting sequential growth since fiscal 3Q16 as in-car electronics increase. The segment has reported sequential growth as high as 21.5% in fiscal 1Q17, and in fiscal 3Q17, Automotive revenues rose 7% quarter-over-quarter to $127 million, driven by strong demand for premium infotainment and digital cockpit features in mainstream cars.

This segment has not even started to witness the growth coming from the rise in autonomous cars, and this will likely change in fiscal 2018, as Nvidia starts supplying its DRIVE PX2 platform to Tesla Motors (TSLA), which should boost the segment’s revenue.

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Nvidia at the CES 2017

Nvidia made some important announcements concerning autonomous cars at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2017, giving tough competition to Intel (INTC) and NXP Semiconductors (NXPI), who also unveiled some attractive products for automotive. All three companies announced partnerships with the major players in the automotive supply chain.

Nvidia’s automotive partnership

Nvidia is looking to get autonomous cars on the road as soon as possible, and it gave a time frame for this goal at the CES 2017. Nvidia is partnering with automaker Audi in an effort to bring Level 4 autonomy in the car by 2020. Level 4 autonomy refers to a fully autonomous car with manual driving options.

In July 2016, Intel partnered with BMW and Mobileye (MBLY) and announced its intention to get self-driving cars on the road by 2021, but NXP has not stated any time to launch self-driving cars.

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Nvidia is working fast toward autonomous cars, but it’s not working in isolation, having partnered with mapping companies Here and Zenrin, with web service provider Baidu (BIDU), and with car navigation technology provider TomTom to develop a cloud-to-car HD mapping system. Nvidia has also partnered with automotive suppliers ZF and Bosch and 80+ automakers, including Mercedez-Benz, to develop autonomous cars.

Audi’s autonomous test car, powered by Nvidia

The first signs of Nvidia’s and Audi’s autonomous car were visible at CES 2017. Audi showcased its autonomous test car Q7, featuring Nvidia’s AI (artificial intelligence) board, which was trained for only four days. Nvidia showcased its GPU’s (graphic processing units) deep learning capabilities to ramp up AI platform faster.

Nvidia’s AI board is based on its new Xavier computing platform and features its new AI-based Co-Pilot software. Continue to the next part for a closer look at these technologies.

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