NVIDIA, ZF and Baidu Launch Industry's First AI Autonomous Vehicle Computer for China

NVIDIA, ZF and Baidu Launch Industry's First AI Autonomous Vehicle Computer for China

Author: Eric Walz   

LAS VEGAS -- NVIDIA, ZF and Baidu announced last night at the opening press conference of CES 2018, that they are creating a production-ready AI autonomous vehicle platform designed for China, the world's largest automotive market.

NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang said that the collaboration is based on the new NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier, ZF's new ProAI car computer and Baidu's Apollo Pilot, an autonomous driving product targeted for mass production.

"NVIDIA and Baidu have pioneered significant advances in deep learning and AI together over the last several years," said Huang. "Now, together with ZF, we have created the first AI autonomous vehicle computing platform for China."

China makes up 30 percent of the global passenger vehicle market. Each of the three companies brings unique technologies together to serve this massive opportunity.

NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier is the world's most complex and advanced SoC, it is capable of performing 30 deep learning TOPS (trillions of operations per second), using only 30 watts of power. In addition to its extreme efficiency, Xavier also enables rich, diverse I/O connections to many different types of sensors.  

With more than 9 billion transistors, Xavier is the most complex system on a chip ever created, representing the work of more than 2,000 NVIDIA engineers over a four-year period, and an investment of $2 billion in research and development. It's built around a custom 8-core CPU, a new 512-core Volta GPU, a new deep learning accelerator, new computer vision accelerators and new 8K HDR video processors.

As one of the world's top automotive suppliers, Germany-based ZF brings expertise for system integration of the car computer and the sensors. ZF's new Xavier-based ProAI will process inputs from multiple cameras, plus lidar and radar, paint a 360-degree view around the vehicle, locate it on an HD map, and find a safe path through traffic.

"Our scalable and modular approach enables us to upgrade to our new ProAI based on NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier, and integrate the Baidu Apollo Pilot. Our second generation ZF ProAI could be customized accordingly and scaled up with a Xavier board, which is available to be implemented," said Torsten Gollewski, senior vice president of Advanced Engineering at ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

Baidu's Apollo open autonomous driving platform provides a comprehensive, secure and reliable all-in-one solution that supports all major features and functions of an autonomous vehicle. Apollo Pilot is an autonomous driving product targeted for mass production, which provides a safe, economical and comfortable autonomous driving experience. It's built on Baidu's technology and insight from the driving behaviors of Chinese users.

"NVIDIA's AI supercomputing architecture is ideal for our autonomous driving applications, as it can process huge amounts of data from sensors in real time, and localize the vehicle on our high-definition digital maps," said Zhenyu Li, vice president and general manager of the Intelligent Driving Group at Baidu. "We've been working with NVIDIA on developing on-vehicle chips for autonomous driving, which aims to accelerate the pace of mass production of autonomous vehicles."

This solution is created not only for Chinese automakers, but any vehicle maker planning to do business in China, and can scale from super Level 2 automated driving capabilities to Level 5 fully autonomous robotaxis. Production vehicles utilizing AI self-driving technologies from NVIDIA, ZF and Baidu are expected on the roads of China starting in 2020.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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