Nvidia has developed a supercomputer that will enable fully driverless vehicles.
The artificial intelligence supplier introduced its Drive PX Pegasus, the latest iteration of its automated driving platform, at its GPU Technology Conference in Munich on Tuesday. The platform can process 320 trillion operations a second, compared with 30 trillion operations on the preceding Drive PX 2 platform, which the company says is enough to power full self-driving, or Level 5 autonomy.
"To put that in perspective, that’s 400 CPUs [computer processing units]. That’s 10 racks of servers. Which would use about 20,000 watts while this uses 500 watts," Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said during his keynote speech at the conference today. "Basically, we’re packing a supercomputing data center in your trunk."
Danny Shapiro, director of automotive at Nvidia, said that after launching its first-generation platform, the company realized "we needed a lot more performance. This is a true supercomputer for the car."
Twenty of the 225 companies using Nvidia's Drive PX platform are developing driverless taxis, the company said. To safely eliminate a human driver, these cars require a suite of camera, lidar, radar and ultrasonic sensors that produce mass amounts of data -- as much as 1 terabyte per second.
Shapiro, who spoke to reporters over the phone before the event, said Drive PX Pegasus can process this data instantaneously on a platform the size of a license plate, using less power than previously necessary to enable the car to make sense of its surroundings.
"This system is going to save thousands of watts off of what is in these cars today," he said.
Many of the companies developing on the Nvidia platform include automakers, suppliers and startups such as Zoox, Optimus Ride and NuTonomy.
"NuTonomy is building for Level 5 and Pegasus is the kind of platform that will be required to support these types of systems," said Karl Iagnemma, NuTonomy CEO, in a statement.
Drive PX Pegasus will be available in the second half of 2018, and companies developing autonomous vehicles on the Drive PX 2 platform will be able to upgrade to the new system once it is out, Shapiro said.
Douglas A. Bolduc contributed to this report