LAS VEGAS – Nvidia Co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, sporting his familiar black leather jacket, rocked a whooping and cheering crowd of 2,500 during his opening keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday night.
It’s hard to imagine any other chip company CEO who would have met with this much enthusiasm from attendees at one of the world’s biggest trade shows. As Huang talked about revolutionizing gaming, entertainment and the transportation of tomorrow with the power of the company’s GPU and AI technologies, the audience was ready and eager to believe his every word.
Huang’s star power aside, Nvidia came to CES to demonstrate how far the graphics chip company has come in advancing the development of AI-enabled autonomous cars.
Intel Corp. is trying to catch up by rolling out its own development platforms and the alliance with Mobileye and BMW. But the processor giant’s automotive future is still dependent on the execution and integration of the many automotive technologies Intel has amassed over the last 12 months.
During Huang's keynote, Nvidia showed a glimpse of Xavier (originally unveiled last fall), described by the company as an “AI car supercomputer.”
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during his CES keynote speech
While showing off a small board a little larger than the palm of his hand, Huang said that Xavier can process 30 trillion operations a second at 30 watts. It’s integrated with an 8-core custom ARM64 CPU and 512 core Volta GPU. The Nvidia CEO also noted during his speech that Xavier chip itself is ASIL C but its module will be designed for ASIL D safety functionality.
Built on top of the hardware is a new OS called DriveWork, explained Huang. The OS helps fuse data coming from different sensors and location information from HD mapping.
Nvidia showed a video clip of Nvidia’s BB8 autonomous vehicle zipping around streets in California.
Auto-Pilot and Co-Pilot The car, Nvidia explained, understands and interacts with the driver in natural spoken language. It negotiates stop lights, stop signs and intersections, while making its way to the freeway before passing control back to the driver when requested.
Layers on top of the DriveWorks OS include Auto-Pilot DNN and Co-Pilot DNN. While discussing the BB8 autonomous car’s perception capability, Huang said, “We are using two types of AI. One is AI driving you as auto-pilot, and another is AI looking out for you as a co-pilot.”
In addition to Xavier, Nvidia announced a number of newly formed partnerships. They include deals with Audi, Bosch and ZF. Huang also laid out the company’s HD mapping strategy involving China’s Baidu, Tom Tom, Japan’s ZeNRIN and HERE.
Nvidia and Audi have been working together for a decade. Huang reminded the audience that Audi was the first car company to come to CES seven years ago, when it announced that it was using Nvidia technology. To celebrate their log-standing partnerships, Huang brought Audi of America Head Scott Keough to the stage.
Head of Audi America, Scott Keough (left) and Nvidia's CEO Huang
Under the new partnership, the two companies’ focus will be on putting “advanced AI cars on the road starting in 2020,” said Huang.
The first phase of the collaboration will focus on Nvidia’s Drive PX AI platform for self-driving cars. Future Audi car models will use deep learning to tackle the complexities of driving.
Audi’s Keough, on stage, talked up the autonomous car the company has brought to Las Vegas. “When you test drive our Q7 in the Gold Lot, it’s driving by itself," he said. Q7 learned how to drive in just three days through AI, he added.
Audi believes that this will be Level 4 automation in just three years.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times
I recently decided to sell back my 2014 "Dieselgate" Passat SLE. I really liked the car but the audio system (which includes the backup camera) was underpowered for all it was tasked to do and VW won't let folks upgrade systems to newer variants. The new car (without diesel) is also a Passat SLE but has all the blind spot, adaptive cruise, park assist, Apple Play, etc.features that high end cars have. Also the backup camera is on "instantly" whereas in the older car it usually came up just as I finished backing up.
The auto companies have upgraded to be able to sell us cars that will easily last 200K miles with excellent mileage. It would be nice to be able to upgrade our cars with new electronics (e.g., a new GPU card and software) and to have those upgrades integrated, verified and supported by the OEM versus the current third party upgrades we can buy now. Upgrades could be at good margin and be tied to other services. This could help get the installed base of vehicles to higher levels of safe driving support much sooner than we can expect with the current situation where new electronics only come with a new car.
With so much electronics under hood today, you could do that on today's vechicle as well. But I don't think people will bother doing that. It is much easier to acquire real gun than EMP gun in US. And real gun is much more effective if someone determines to kill. And it works regardless you are on vechicle or not.
My point is that Autonomous vechicle is not really making situation worser than what we have today.
I'm inclined to agree with you about electronics upgrades for cars. I recencly got a new pickup and one of my concerns is that the electronics is likely to "die" much sooner than the mechanical. I kept my last vechicle for 16 years and would really like to be able to keep this one a similar length of time...
Nobody talks because there is nothing new here. Today's cars *need* electronic devices to control braking, motor speed, and so on. Sure, there are fallback, but actualy almost nobody would be able to keep his/her car safe would all electronic devices stop to work ok.