Nvidia secures multiple partnerships to accelerate self-driving cars

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang
Nvidia CEO and founder Jensen Huang

US firm Nvidia Corp, best known for its graphics technology in computer games, has announced multiple new partnerships aimed at developing software for self-driving cars and related systems that will see the company working with a number of global automotive brands.

Volvo and Swedish care safety supplier Autoliv have signed a deal with Nvidia to develop AI systems that can recognise objects around vehicles, anticipate threats and navigate busy roads safely. The joint venture between Volva and Autoliv, called Zenuity, was established last year, and will see the firms work together to develop a self-driving solution that is used in Volvo cars and sold on to other carmakers.

Volvo has been using Nvidia’s AI systems in a pilot for semi-autonomous vehicles since the start of the year. The pilot, based in the company’s home town of Gothenburg, is part of Volvo’s plans to have nearly autonomous cars on the market by 2021.

Nvidia has also partnered with auto industry suppliers ZF and Hella to support their efforts to bring self-driving systems to market for OEM clients. Nvidia will incorporate its own AI technology into their existing systems to ensure that they meet the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) certification criteria for passenger vehicles.

Hella builds camera and radar systems, alongside other technology and software related to autonomous driving, while ZF is one of the leading tier one suppliers in the automotive industry. Their work with Nvidia will focus on developing their systems to ‘Level 3’ autonomy, where drivers can give over control, but must be ready and able to resume manual driving at any moment.

Finally, Volkswagen has partnered with Nvidia to expand its usage of AI and deep learning technologies beyond autonomous vehicles and into other areas of its business. VW established a data lab in Munich in 2014 that was initially focused on the challenges of self-driving cars, but now its remit has expanded to the rest of the automotive giant’s business.

VW plans to transform the Data Lab into a ‘centre of excellence’ for AI and data analytics, and is establishing a startup support program with Nvidia aimed at providing technical and financial support for international startups that are developing machine and deep learning applications for the automotive industry.

“Artificial intelligence is the key to the digital future of the Volkswagen Group,” said Dr. Martin Hoffman, chief innovation officer of the Volkswagen Group. “We want to develop and deploy high-performance AI systems ourselves. This is why we are expanding our expert knowledge required. Cooperation with Nvidia will be a major step in this direction.”

“AI is the most powerful technological force of our era,” said Jensen Huang, CEO and founder of Nvidia. “Thanks to AI, data centres are changing dramatically and enterprise computing is being reinvented. Nvidia’s deep learning solutions will enable Volkswagen to turn the enormous amounts of information in its data centres into valuable insight, and transform its business.”

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