Nvidia Moves Self-Driving Car Tests from Road to Data Center

GTC18 - NVIDIA simulation will take self-driving car testing off road

Nvidia announced in January that Uber had selected Nvidia technology to power its self-driving auto AI, though Nvidia computing tech was already present in Uber's first fleet of Volvo XC90 SUVs. The technology can simulate the billions of driving miles necessary to make self-driving cars a reality much faster than it would take to have physical cars drive them. "DRIVE Constellation for virtually testing and validating will bring us a step closer to the production of self-driving cars".

At the company's annual GTC Summit in San Jose, California, Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang announced a two-server solution that simulates data generated by a self-driving vehicle and trains a driving algorithm using that data.

Over 370 companies developing self-driving tech already use Nvidia's Drive platform that serves as the backbone for Constellation.

"Safety is really the most important thing, as we were reminded just last week", Huang said, referring to the Uber incident.

Last week, Uber suspended North American tests of its self-driving vehicles after one of its self-driving cars killed a woman in Arizona. Nvidia had been testing its autonomous driving technology in New Jersey, California, Japan and Germany. "Our global fleet of manually driven data collection vehicles continue to operate", said the Nvidia spokesperson in a statement.




Nvidia's announcements come at a pivotal time for the self-driving auto industry.

The system runs on two servers.

Drive Constellation allows automakers and other developers to validate and strengthen the technology through billions of driving miles that allow for testing in hard scenarios.

The first server powers the Nvidia DRIVE Sim, a software set that emulates a self-driving car's various sensors, including its cameras, lidar and radar. The server sends driving commands back to the simulator, completing what the company calls the "hardware-in-the-loop cycle". The second server contains the NVIDIA DRIVE Pegasus AI auto computer that runs the entire software stack in an autonomous driving vehicle.

Testing may not involve putting self-driving cars on public streets, with all the safety issues that entails, but virtual environments aren't real ones, no matter how authentic the simulations seem.

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