Can NVIDIA Maintain Its Lead in the Autonomous Driving Market?



Competition in automotive

Until 2016, NVIDIA (NVDA) was the leading the autonomous car opportunity, with its most advanced platforms, the Drive PX 2 and the Xavier, being adopted by over 125 automakers and auto OEMs (other equipment manufacturers) for their autonomous driving projects.

Intel (INTC) then realized the opportunity and accelerated its efforts to catch up with NVIDIA in the automotive space, making several acquisitions, including its most recent acquisition of ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) supplier Mobileye. Intel also revealed that Alphabet’s (GOOG) self-driving car subsidiary, Waymo, is using its sensors and processors to power their fully autonomous test cars.

Waymo is way ahead in the autonomous driving space and will most likely be among the first to roll out self-driving cars. According to Navigant Research, Waymo is in sixth place in the race to launch autonomous cars. An association with Waymo is a big endorsement for Intel’s autonomous car technology and could give the chipmaker a lead in this lucrative market.

NVIDIA and Intel fight for a leadership position in the autonomous ride-sharing market

According to media reports, Waymo plans to enter the ride-sharing market in partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU). In order to compete strongly with Intel, NVIDIA revealed its third-generation Pegasus Drive PX platform for fully autonomous driving.

NVIDIA has been working with ride-sharing service providers such as NuTonomy and Optimus Ride on fully autonomous taxis. The chip maker hinted that these partners would be able to speed up their time to market. In October 2017, NVIDIA announced its partnership with German postal service Deutsche Post DHL and auto supplier ZF for the deployment of fully autonomous delivery trucks by 2019.

Despite NVIDIA’s efforts, Intel might take a lead in the ride-sharing space because Waymo could commercially launch its autonomous ride-sharing service as early as 2018. The current scenario shows that Intel is in the lead, but the tables could turn as NVIDIA has a slew of automotive partnerships that could bring returns in the long term.

Meanwhile, some third-party researchers believe that the autonomous vehicle market could be so big that it could accommodate more than one leader. This would mean that both Intel and NVIDIA would have ample opportunities to grow in this market.

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