Nvidia plans 2020 roll-out of self-driving platform

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Nvidia showcased its self-driving platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Nvidia showcased its self-driving platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

US-based graphics processing unit maker Nvidia has unveiled an artificial intelligence-based autonomous driving platform that it says will be commercially available in 2020.

The platform was showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.

Nvidia introduced Drive AutoPilot, what it terms a 'Level 2+' automated driving solution, which provides both autonomous driving perception and an intelligent cockpit.

This, as automakers, original equipment manufacturers, semiconductor companies and electronics as well as telecoms equipment manufacturers are competing neck and neck to acquire patents for connected and autonomous cars.

Research by Netscribes last year noted connected cars are expected to account for over 80% of on-road vehicles by 2040.

"We built the advanced platform on the Drive AGX Xavier system-on-a-chip and Drive Software, integrating, for the first time, our Drive AV autonomous driving and Drive IX intelligent experience capabilities," the company says in a statement.

It explains that Drive AutoPilot is part of the Nvidia Drive platform, which is being used by hundreds of companies worldwide to build autonomous vehicle solutions that increase road safety while reducing driver fatigue and stress on long drives or in stop-and-go traffic.

The new Level 2+ system complements the Nvidia Drive AGX Pegasus system that provides Level 5 capabilities for robo-taxis, bringing advanced artificial intelligence (AI) safety features to the roads sooner.

According to Nvidia, most of today's advanced driver assistance systems rely on the lower-level processing of standard automotive electronic control units. It notes these are capable of powering features like automatic emergency braking, but they can't catch every possible braking situation. Nor can automakers update them within the vehicle, it adds.

"With Nvidia Drive AGX Xavier, tier 1 suppliers and automakers can put 30 trillion operations per second of compute to work. Yet it uses just 30 watts of energy, half that of an incandescent lightbulb," the company says.

"This power and efficiency makes possible a much wider range of active safety features. It allows your car to run deep neural networks in parallel for surround perception, identifying and reacting to a variety of hazards all around the vehicle."

Drive AGX Xavier runs Nvidia Drive Software for object detection, traffic light and sign recognition. Drive Software also includes Drive IX.

"This intelligent experience platform enables both driver monitoring and in-vehicle visualisation. With intelligent driver monitoring, the system can ensure the driver's attention is on the road. And it can then take action if the driver is drowsy or distracted," Nvidia notes.

"For vehicle positioning, Drive AutoPilot also offers a new personal mapping feature called 'My Route', which remembers where you have driven and can create a self-driving route even if no HD map is available. This will enable point-to-point automated driving."

Nvidia says German automotive suppliers Continental and ZF Friedrichshafen will be using the platform in their 'level 2+' self-driving systems going into production starting next year.

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