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NVIDIA’s Autonomous Car Tech Enters the Commercial Vehicle Space

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Fully autonomous car a collaborative effort

A fully autonomous car is the collaborative effort of cloud companies, semiconductor companies, software companies, auto OEMs (original equipment manufacturer), and automakers.

NVIDIA (NVDA) is partnering with several automotive players working at different levels of the automotive supply chain in order to achieve Level 5 automation.

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AI car platform

In fiscal 1Q18, NVIDIA partnered with the world’s largest auto component supplier, Bosch, and the European (IEV) trucking industry’s top supplier, ZF, to build AI (artificial intelligence) car platforms.

NVIDIA will work with Bosch to create its next-generation driving supercomputer platform, Xavier, for self-driving cars. Once ready, Bosch will start the mass production of this automotive-grade system. This partnership is significant, as it expands NVIDIA’s technology beyond high-end electric cars and into the mainstream.

NVIDIA’s technology could go beyond cars into commercial vehicles for factories, agriculture, and mining with its partnership with ZF. The two are developing a ProAI self-driving system based on NVIDIA’s DRIVE PX2 technology.

Cloud-to-car mapping platforms

In fiscal 4Q17, NVIDIA partnered with HERE and ZENRIN to develop cloud-to-car mapping platforms. HERE focuses on the United States and Europe, and ZENRIN focuses on Japan (EWJ). These partnerships complement NVIDIA’s mapping partnership with Europe’s TomTom and China’s Baidu (BIDU).

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Autonomous cars

NVIDIA has partnered with several automakers and trucking companies to bring autonomous cars to the market:

  • NVIDIA’s DRIVE PX 2 platform is already inside Tesla’s (TSLA) Model S and Model X cars, and it will soon be inside Tesla’s Model 3 car.
  • NVIDIA’s DRIVE PX 2 platforms are inside Volvo’s XC90 SUVs (sports utility vehicle), which are being made available to initial customers of its Drive Me program. The SUV can drive without human intervention on designated roads of Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • NVIDIA is working with Audi to bring Level 3 autonomy to Audi’s A8 luxury sedan later in 2017 and Level 4 autonomy in 2020.
  • NVIDIA is working with Mercedes-Benz to bring an autonomous car to market by the end of 2017.
  • NVIDIA has partnered with the world’s largest transport truck manufacturer, PACCAR, to bring Level 4 autonomy to its trucks. The two companies recently showed a proof-of-concept truck powered by the Drive PX 2 platform. PACCAR has ~300 million trucks on the road that drive 1.2 trillion miles annually.

Autonomous trucks are a bigger opportunity than autonomous cars and could significantly improve savings, efficiencies, and safety. NVIDIA may make more announcements and presentations in terms of self-driving cars in May 2017 at its Investor Day and GPU (graphics processing unit) Technology Conference.

Next, we’ll look at NVIDIA’s efforts in the professional visualization space.

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