NVIDIA chips quietly powering the new driverless car revolution.
NVIDIA has progressively worked itself into vehicles one uses or hear about every day, i.e., Tesla Motors, which uses NVIDIA for the graphics on its giant 17-inch touchscreen.
10 million cars are crossing 20 different brands on the road today using some form of its tech inside.
The company designs the brain which is running self-driving cars, such as the ones built by Volvo, Audi, Ford, Mercedes-Benz.
In total, there are over 80 automakers, start-ups, and research institutes relying upon its chips and technology brain to power their self-driving cars.
Self-driving cars use an array of sensors to detect objects like bicycles, carts, other cars and yes also people. These cars also make use of radar and lidar to detect various obstructions.
The various sensors are building a three-dimensional model in the brain of the car, of everything that’s going on around that vehicle. Which helps the car’s brain, to virtually see its surroundings and react swiftly and more importantly correctly.
The performance of the Drive PX 2 chips is as powerful as 150 MacBook pros, but it’s roughly the size of your forearm. These chips are capable of 24 trillion deep learning operations a second.
Just ten years ago, this operating power would have required a massive supercomputer, which would have used up “500,000 watts of power and a huge air conditioner,” It has now been shrunk to the size of a license plate.
The size is crucial, as fitting a massive supercomputer into a truck is not a feasible solution.
The Audi lines of Drive PX 2 on the sides of its trunk. It’s capable of operating in harsh conditions without an AC unit ranging from negative 40 degrees Celcius to 85 degrees Celcius.
The brain is only getting more powerful. The Drive PX 2 can distinguish between a delivery truck and an ambulance which allows the car to pull to the right for one and drive on for the other.
Having a bigger pool of data to study and analyze will accelerate the advancement of the car’s brain, and it also opens the door for over-the-air updates.
Baidu is now testing in California in addition to China; NVIDIA is creating a treasure trove of information to improve its brain.