CES 2016: Nvidia Unveils Drive PX2, a ‘Supercomputer’ for Self-driving Cars

NVIDIA has revealed a new engine, called NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2, to enable cars drive autonomously.

NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 artificial intelligence car computer features two next-generation Tegra processors and two next-generation GPUs to deliver unprecedented capabilities for autonomous driving. Photo: NVIDIA Corporation

NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 artificial intelligence car computer features two next-generation Tegra processors and two next-generation GPUs to deliver unprecedented capabilities for autonomous driving. Photo: NVIDIA Corporation

NVIDIA has introduced NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2, a new powerful computer developed to allow cars driving in an autonomous mode. The new engine was presented during a CES 2016 conference on Monday.

NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 is much smaller if compared to other engines in autonomous vehicles. According to NVIDIA’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, the computer can be compared to 150 MacBook Pros in terms of processing power.

The engine includes 12 CPU cores, two Pascal GPUs and provides 8 teraflops per second, while the previous model NVIDIA DRIVE PX offered only 2.3 teraflops of floating-point performance. The power consumption amounts to 250 watts.

One of the key features is that the computer will allow self-driving cars to detect various objects on the road, including other vehicles, pedestrians and traffic signals.

“Drivers deal with an infinitely complex world. Modern artificial intelligence and GPU breakthroughs enable us to finally tackle the daunting challenges of self-driving cars,” said Huang.

The company also intends cars to adapt to surroundings, for example, to slow down when an ambulance is passing or distinguish weather conditions. However, it is now difficult to make cars be sensitive to various circumstances and will likely take time to realize.

“NVIDIA’s GPU is central to advances in deep learning and supercomputing. We are leveraging these to create the brain of future autonomous vehicles that will be continuously alert, and eventually achieve superhuman levels of situational awareness. Autonomous cars will bring increased safety, new convenient mobility services and even beautiful urban designs — providing a powerful force for a better future,” he continued.

NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 is reliable even at very high temperatures due to the use of liquid cooling instead of fans.

Volvo will become the first automobile company to use the computer, Huang noted. The company plans to deploy the engine in 100 SUVs in Sweden in 2017.

Nvidia is also in partnership with Audi, which helps the company to test its systems.   BMW, Daimler and Ford utilize the system to design their self-driving vehicles too.

NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 is expected to become generally available in the Q4 of 2016, while some partners will be able to get samples of an engine in Q2 of 2016.

The technology for self-driving cars is just a part of the IoT industry, which is growing at a fast pace now. According to Kevin Ashton, who invented the term ‘Internet of Things’, the autonomous vehicles will be used almost by everybody by 2030. Whilst some people are concerned about the safety of self-driving cars, Ashton says that until now there have been no serious accidents involving this kind of vehicles.

Moreover, the recent study conducted by the World Economic Forum, unveiled that people are ready to try autonomous cars. The large number of respondents appeared to be willing to acquire a self-driving vehicle.

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