Nvidia and Audi confirmed plans to have a road-ready driverless car by 2020 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas.
The driverless car will have Level 4 capability, meaning it is able to work without a driver or steering wheel. Before that, Audi will launch the first Level 3 autonomous car, which can do most stuff autonomously but still needs human override control.
Both cars will have Nvidia hardware and software onboard.
Nvidia also announced a successor to Drive PX, the automotive package that the American technology firm sells to automakers. Xavier, the new package, has eight CPU cores and “512 of our next-gen GPUs,” according to Nvidia. It is able to compute 30 trillion operations per second, 15 times more than the predecessor, Drive PX.
Partners providing mapping data
That should give the system enough power to create detailed maps of the outside world while driving, allowing the car to avoid accidents and recognize more objects. Nvidia also wants Xavier to power the artificial intelligence inside the car, which will learn on the road.
In between now and full autonomy, Nvidia will provide systems to move seamlessly from driver to computer car control. That has been flagged as a potential issue in the semi-autonomous future, according to a study on drivers taking back control of a car.
Nvidia has also partnered with Japan’s Zenrin, a mapping firm, TomTom, and search giant Baidu, to build the self-driving system of the future. We don’t know the specifics of its partnership with Baidu, who recently ended a collaboration with BMW.