It seems like everyone wants into the self-driving cars business these days. The latest addition to a pretty big list of names which includes Uber, Intel and Google is Nvidia. On Thursday, the graphic cards company received the green light to test their self-driving cars in California. A day later, their Nvidia BB8 model could be seen on the streets.
Another name to the list
This idea that Nvidia could be making autonomous cars is not new though. Back in 2015, their CEO and co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang has a very interesting meeting with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. He talked about Tegra, a mobile processor which Nvidia produces. Musk said that this processor might prove to be extremely important for the future of self-driving cars. Moreover, also in 2015, the company revealed some chipsets destined to support Artificial Intelligence. Their P100 chipset which went to Tesla cost $2 billion to make and it reportedly has 150 billion transistors. This is a huge number for such a chip so Nvidia is in it to win it.
This year, in September, Nvidia made the announcement that they are teaming up with Baidu, a Chinese company, in order to develop Artificial Intelligence programmed for self-driving. According to rumors, Nvidia also has some test cars which they took out in parking lots or various roads somewhere in New Jersey.
At CES 2016, Nvidia revealed their new car computing open platform which is based on the Nvidia Drive PX2. It is not fully autonomous but it supports automated highway driving. It also works on just 10 watts of power. In order for the car to be completely self-driving, they would need to use more such platforms at the same time.
Another interesting fact about Nvidia is that the company took part in Roborace in April. This is a race only designed for auto-driving cars. Some witnesses have reportedly seen an Nvidia car these days around California’s Bay area.
An unexpected name
Some might think that Nvidia is a very unusual name to come up in this business. Well, it seems like this is not the case as the company has been very involved the development of this technology. With its chips, the company could establish the very base on which car-makers might build algorithms which will allow the car to be completely self-driving.
All in all, it seems like Nvidia is the latest big company to be interested in the self-driving cars industry. It is a good thing that they are working towards bettering this technology, but let’s not forget the problems that Tesla had with their self-driving cars. A man who got into an accident while driving such a car accused Tesla of promoting them as autonomous when they really are not. Not fully autonomous, at least. Tis might be the reason why so many companies are trying to develop the technology to function completely autonomous. It seems like they are getting close to it. We will have to wait some time to know how exactly these developments would turn out, but the prospects are good.
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