As Intel steps up their investment in driverless technology with a $15 billion acquisition of Mobileye, so have automotive supplier Bosch and NVIDIA teamed up to manufacturer driverless car systems with the much-awaited Xavier chip.
The Xavier chip is the NVIDIA AI complete system on chip (SoC) meant to act as "the brain of a self-driving car." The chip integrates new GPU architecture called Volta, and its custom 8 core CPU will deliver 20 TOPS (trillion operations per second) using only 20 watts of power.
NVIDIA is claiming the chip as the world's first ever single-chip processor able to perform level 4 autonomous driving. Level 4 does not cover every driving scenario such as extreme weather conditions where the driver may have to take over, but within certain confines a level 4 vehicle should be able to completely operate the car without human interference.
Bosch's AI car computer system will be based on Xavier and working in kind with the NVIDIA DRIVE PX technology, which the company announced last year. NVIDIA provides vehicle parts and technologies for Tesla's autopilot and other driverless companies, but Bosch is the first to use the Xavier chip to create their own AI self-driving computer.
NVIDIA would be providing the computing hardware and software, while Bosch would focus on developing vehicle sensors. The complete AI computing system would then be offered to automakers. In a statement, Bosch said that NVIDIA 'AI onboard computer' should go into production 'by the beginning of the next decade at the latest.'
The Xavier chip is needed to handle the extreme amount of computational tasks required in driverless technology. The DRIVE PX computers will have the ability to understand and analyze the car's surroundings by integrating data from exterior sensors that scan the environment in 3D, localize the car on an high definition map, and predict the behavior of the objects (e.g., pedestrians) around it. It will also recognize everything in sight as the vehicle moves, helping to compute the safest path forward.
"Self-driving cars is a challenge that can finally be solved with recent breakthroughs in deep learning and artificial intelligence," Jen-Hsun Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, said in a press release. "Using Nvidia's DRIVE PX AI car computer, Bosch will build automotive-grade systems for the mass production of autonomous cars. Together we will realize a future where autonomous vehicles make mobility safe and accessible to all."
Check out the demo vid, below:
NVIDIA has been competing with other car and chip makers in the fast-growing autonomous car market and work with car makers including Volvo, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford. They've already developed a driverless car based on their first DRIVE PX model. The DRIVE PX with Xavier will be their third.
When car parts supplier Bosch and super-chip NVIDIA will release their level 4 driverless vehicle is still a question. Both companies have yet to announce a delivery date.