Uber and Volkswagen partner with Nvidia on self-driving AI chips
Mon 8 Jan 2018
Nvidia has announced it will supply Uber and Volkswagen with its artificial intelligence chips for their self-driving car projects.
Speaking at CES in Las Vegas, Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s CEO, announced that the firm is partnering with both the ride-hailing giant and the German automobile manufacturer.
Nvidia’s AI offerings are being used by Uber to help its autonomous fleet make perceptions about the environment it drives through, and make decisions based on that information.
Uber first worked with Nvidia in 2016, using its graphics processing power in its testing of the Volvo SC90, which were trialled in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.
German company Volkswagen will be using Nvidia’s Drive IX platform in some vehicles in the future, including the autonomous ID Buzz electric bus, which features 1950s styling. Drive IX is a software development kit that will help Volkswagen create features such as facial recognition and natural language processing, in a package that will become an ‘intelligent co-pilot.’
The actual AI chip going into Uber and Volkswagen’s cars is called Xavier, which Nvidia first announced in 2016. Platforms such as Drive IX and Drive AR, an augmented reality system, work using Xavier.
It is only with this announcement, however, that the chip is actually available for customers, with deliveries being made to customers this quarter. Its system is able to deliver 30 trillion operations per second.
The chipmaking firm has already developed a significant number of partnerships in order to push into the developing autonomous car market, claiming that it is working with more than 320 other organisations, including Tesla.
Nvidia has had a stellar past year, with its share price doubling since the same period in 2017. This is likely thanks to its attempts at branching out into data centres, artificial intelligence and other technologies that require the processing power that graphics chips provide.
Uber has had a difficult year in almost all respects, with major questions being raised over its leadership and culture. However, it still managed to cover one million miles of autonomous car testing in 2017.