During a virtual news conference at CES 2022, NVIDIA announced automotive milestones and demonstrated its AI prowess. Ali Kani, NVIDIA general manager and VP for automotive, detailed how partners are designing autonomous driving applications.
He highlighted how the vehicle platform NVIDIA DRIVE is helping innovative automakers to create upgradeable user experiences.
This address was on the heels of TuSimple’s earlier announcement that the autonomous trucking company is partnering with NVIDIA for its advanced autonomous domain controllers.
How NVIDIA DRIVE Drives Autonomous and EV Ecosystems
Kani started by explaining why autonomous vehicle technology requires a new platform. It needs to have development, testing, validation processes, safety and security.
The NVIDIA DRIVE Hyperion platform includes a high-performance computer and sensor architecture that meets the safety requirements of a fully autonomous vehicle, says Kani.
“DRIVE Hyperion is designed with redundant NVIDIA DRIVE Orin systems-on-a-chip for software-defined vehicles that continuously improve and create a wide variety of new software- and service-based business models for vehicle manufacturers,” says Kani.
DRIVE Hyperion features 12 state-of-the-art surround cameras, 12 ultrasonics, nine radar, three interior sensing cameras and one front-facing lidar. All the architecture is designed with backup sensors in case a sensor fails that the vehicle can drive to a safe place.
“The DRIVE Hyperion architecture has been adopted by hundreds of automakers, truck makers, tier 1 suppliers and robotaxi companies, ushering in the new era of autonomy,” he explains.
NVIDIA has developed an ecosystem of Tier 1 automotive suppliers. Desay SV, Flex, Quanta, Valeo and ZF are now DRIVE Hyperion 8 platform scaling partners, says Kani.
He says that NVIDIA’s large supplier ecosystem demonstrates that the DRIVE Hyperion has become the industry’s most open and adopted platform architecture. The partners will make it possible for the production of the platform to start production this year.
Electric vehicle companies have reimagined the car, beginning with a new vehicle architecture.
Polestar, IM Motors, Li Auto, NIO, R Auto and Xpeng, are using the DRIVE platform to reinvent the personal transportation experience based on software and technology.
“The NEVs will continuously improve over time with over-the-air updates,” notes Kani.
NVIDIA AI for Logistics and Trucking
AI is proving to be helpful in long haul logistics. Kani says the pandemic fuelled demands for trucking and last-mile deliveries. The trend will continue this year with an expected 170 billion packages to be shipped in 2022. Plus, there is a shortage of drivers.
TuSimple is facing these challenges head-on with its scalable Autonomous Freight Network, says Kani. This network uses autonomous trucks to safely and efficiently move goods across the country.
TuSimple has expanded its ongoing partnership with NVIDIA to design and develop an advanced autonomous domain controller (ADC) engineered for its Level 4 autonomous trucking applications. The ADC design will incorporate the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin system-on-a-chip (SoC), which is specifically designed for AI-based autonomous driving applications, says Kani.
The autonomous domain controller (ADC) processes hundreds of trillions of operations per second.
“A high-performance, production-ready ADC is a critical piece to scaling our AFN. We are taking a hands-on role to advance its development with the help of NVIDIA,” said Cheng Lu, President, and CEO of TuSimple in an announcement. “We believe this move provides us a significant competitive advantage in speeding time to market and further extending our industry leadership position.”
Avatar Personal AI Driving Assistance
Kani also demonstrated the NVIDIA DRIVE Concierge platform with car-toony 3D Avatars that speak and understand natural speech.
“DRIVE Concierge combines NVIDIA Omniverse Avatar, DRIVE IX, DRIVE AV 4D perception, Riva GPU-accelerated speech AI SDK and an array of deep neural networks to delight customers on every drive,” he says.
A demo showed a vehicle equipped with DRIVE Concierge on a trip to Las Vegas. The avatar helps the driver plan and prepare. When piloted by the DRIVE Chauffeur, the avatar helps the driver relax.
In a previous announcement, NVIDIA noted that DRIVE Concierge is also an on-demand valet and guardian, using interior cameras and multimodal interaction to keep the driver alert.
Kani concluded: “These developments in intelligent driving technology, innovations from suppliers, automakers and trucking companies all building on NVIDIA DRIVE, are heralding the arrival of the autonomous era.”