NVIDIA Announces DRIVE AXG Orin, One of the Most Advanced Platforms for Autonomous Vehicles

NVIDIA Announces DRIVE AXG Orin, One of the Most Advanced Platforms for Autonomous Vehicles

Author: Eric Walz   

At Nvidia's GTC Technology Conference in China this week, the chipmaker unveiled its latest NVIDIA DRIVE platform the AGX Orin. Orin is an advanced processor for autonomous vehicles or robots that was a result of four years of R&D investment by Nvidia.

The new platform is powered by a new system-on-a-chip (SoC), which consists of 17 billion transistors. 

The Orin SoC integrates NVIDIA's next-generation GPU architecture and Arm Hercules CPU cores, combined with new deep learning and computer vision accelerators that can deliver 200 trillion operations per second (200 TOPS), which Nvidia says is 7 times better performance than the company's previous generation Xavier SoC, which delivers 30TOPS of performance.

Orin can transmit over 200 gigabytes of data per second of data using just 60 to 70 Watts of power, according to Danny Shapiro, Nvidia's senior director of automotive.

Orin is designed to handle the large number of applications and deep neural networks running simultaneously in autonomous vehicles, while achieving safety standards such as ISO 26262 Automotive Safety Integrity Level D (ASIL-D), the highest level of safety for automotive applications. 

Nvidia says its Orin SoC is built as a software-defined platform. DRIVE AGX Orin is developed to enable architecturally compatible platforms that scale from level-2 (partial autonomy) to level-5 ( fully-autonomous) applications.

Since both Orin and Xavier are programmable through Nvidia's open CUDA and TensorRT API's along with their associated libraries, developers can run software across multiple product generations, such as the Zavier SoC.

"Creating a safe autonomous vehicle is perhaps society's greatest computing challenge," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, during his keynote at GTC China. "The amount of investment required to deliver autonomous vehicles has grown exponentially, and the complexity of the task requires a scalable, programmable, software-defined AI platform like Orin."

Nvidia DRIVE products are some of the most widely used for autonomous vehicle development. In addition to providing the robust processing hardware, Nvidia provides its DRIVE customers with pre-trained AI models and training code. 

For developers of self-driving vehicles, these AI models include traffic signal recognition, pedestrian detection, path perception, and gaze detection, which is used for driver monitoring systems. With powerful AI tools, developers can customize the models to increase the capabilities of their self-driving systems.

"Nvidia's long-term commitment to the transportation industry, along with its innovative end-to-end platform and tools, has resulted in a vast ecosystem — virtually every company working on AVs is utilizing Nvidia in its compute stack," said Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst at Navigant Research. "Orin looks to be a significant step forward that should help enable the next great chapter in this ever improving technology story."

The DRIVE AGX Orin family will include a range of configurations based on a single architecture. DRIVE AGX Orin will be made available to automakers in 2022.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree 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 auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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