Yesterday we learned that both Audi and tech-giant NVIDIA would be working together yet again but this time on autonomous driving capabilities. Well, while at the 2017 CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA, spoke a bit about what the company is working on alongside Audi.
According to Huang, NVIDIA and Audi are working together to develop an autonomous car that is truly that — autonomous. The two brands want to bring Level 4 Autonomy, which is full driving control by the car under most circumstances, to the market by 2020. While other companies have boasted claims of bringing fully autonomous cars to the road, such as Tesla and BMW, no other company given such a short time-frame. “We’re talking highly automated cars, operating in numerous conditions, in 2020,” said Scott Keough, Head of Audi North America.
The secret lies with NVIDIA.
While Audi wants to bring the most advanced autonomous driving aids to date to the market this year with the new Audi A8, that tech is based on NVIDIA’s current computing power. The tech-giant is working on something much greater.
When we see Audi’s Deep-Learning Concepts, the small-scale Q2 and full-size Q7, navigating parking lots on their own and learning their surroundings, that’s all based on NVIDIA’s current Drive PX automotive hardware and software package. Now, NVIDIA has some new gear, called Xavier, which is significantly more powerful. Huang says Xavier has “eight high-end CPU cores, 512 of our next-gen GPUs,” which sounds impressive. “It has the performance of a high-end PC shrunk onto a tiny chip, [with] teraflop operation, at just 3o watts.” That’s 15 times more powerful than the Drive PX system.
This sort of high-end hardware paired with learning software will allow for the car to fully understand its surroundings, learn where it is and where to go in moments. To help with this, Audi is also partnering with Mobileye, which is the world-leader in automotive image recognition software. This will help NVIDIA’s CPUs and GPUs understand what they’re seeing.
NVIDIA has been in the CPU/GPU game longer than most people, so with its help, Audi could hit its mark of 2020 and bring the first Level 4 Autonomous car ever to the world market.