Designing and building a car takes much more than assembling four wheels and a body it can take up to five years, thousands of people and a range of partners to engineer, test and manufacture it. Though self-driving cars promise to make travel much simpler, removing the steering wheel and pedals creates an even more complex process than traditional vehicle development.
That's why collaboration is key to finding solutions to the challenges that arise from making a car autonomous. At NVIDIA we have more than 370 companies in our automotive ecosystem, each of which is contributing unique expertise in making automated and autonomous cars a reality. This community covers a wide range of companies, from automakers and truck manufacturers, to suppliers, to software startups, to mapping companies who are leveraging the NVIDIA DRIVE computing platform.
And our ecosystem is constantly growing, adding more than 50 companies since the start of 2018. These latest additions to our self-driving community are developing revolutionary experiences on the road and inside the vehicle as well.
Driving Mobility for all:
Just this month, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler and tier 1 supplier Bosch announced NVIDIA DRIVE Pegasus will be the AI supercomputer that powers their upcoming robotaxis, expected to deploy in the next few years.
This three-way collaboration is crucial to the success of the project, as each company adds vital experience. Bosch has the expertise in integrating the sensors and cameras, Daimler lends its storied legacy as an automaker and NVIDIA adds high-performance AI computing with the DRIVE platform. By providing on-demand mobility, this endeavor has the potential to improve traffic flow, create safer driving conditions, and provide better mobility for all travelers.
Building the tools for Autonomy:
ZF became the first supplier to adopt NVIDIA AI technology for cars and commercial vehicles in January 2017. Now, its second-generation ZF ProAI system is based on NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier. The platform is capable of Level 3 autonomy with its ability to process inputs from multiple cameras, lidar and radar, create a 360-degree view around the vehicle, locate it on an HD map and safely navigate through traffic.
When it launched in early 2017, Silicon Valley start-up Aurora outlined a mission to deliver the benefits of self-driving quickly and safely around the world with software and hardware capable of full autonomy. Armed with high-performance, energy-efficient NVIDIA DRIVE technology, Aurora and other startups are able to build driving sophisticated applications on a proven platform and reduce their development time.
AI in the Cockpit:
Safe self-driving requires a smart AI copilot, a development that's already available in production vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz MBUX AI-powered infotainment system, built on NVIDIA technology, not only allows the car to display 3D graphics in real time, but can seamlessly handle tasks that require high amounts of computing performance, such as recognizing and properly responding to the driver's natural spoken commands. This system is the first of its kind, and helps create a safe, comfortable driving experience.
NVIDIA DRIVE IX our intelligent experience software stack that will power Volkswagen's future Intelligent Co-Pilot system provides assistance and convenience feature to the driver by processing sensor data in realtime. The system can focus a driver's attention to potential hazards and use natural language processing to respond to the passengers needs. However, it doesn't stop there. The car will be constantly learning through its entire life with software updates, and gain new abilities over time as they are developed. The system will be a hallmark of the VW I.D. Buzz, a redesign of the iconic VW Microbus, as well as other vehicles in the automaker's upcoming lineup.
NVIDIA Partners show off at CES:
Some of the companies developing on NVIDIA DRIVE kicked off 2018 demonstrating their work at CES. These partners have taken advantage of the versatility of the DRIVE platform, employing it in everything from autonomous vehicle safety to driverless racing.
Roborace is the company behind the first self-driving racecar, aiming to revolutionize motorsports. The car relies on the NVIDIA DRIVE platform to process data from an array of sensors feeding information into the car, allowing it to navigate a course on its own. The Robocar recently completed a landmark race in July at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed, becoming the first car to complete the festival's feature 1.16-mile hillclimb without a driver.
Paccar, one of the world's largest makers of transport trucks, has already showcased a concept Level 4 autonomous vehicle using the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2. Autonomous trucking has the potential to save costs, increase efficiency and make our roads safer.
Paccar has already begun integrating AI into trucks to ease the burden for human drivers. By placing multiple cameras and sensors around the vehicle and using the NVIDIA DRIVE platform to process that data, the truck can drive itself in certain situations while supervised by a human driver. The truck is able to recognize and react to its surroundings by comparing real-time sensor data with a previously constructed map. Neural networks in the vehicle allow it to learn and improve as it drives.
With this ever-growing automotive ecosystem, the possibilities for the next generation of transportation are endless. As these diverse players work to revolutionize ways in which we get around, the future of autonomous vehicles looks bright.