NVIDIA Continues Push from Autonomous Testing to On-the-Road Implementation

Subscribe To Download This Insight

By James Hodgson | 3Q 2017 | IN-4653

In new partnerships announced with Volvo-Autoliv and ZF-HELLA, NVIDIA has built on their existing momentum by taking their solutions from autonomous vehicle trials to vehicles on the road.

Registered users can unlock up to five pieces of premium content each month.

Log in or register to unlock this Insight.


From Supporting Prototype Trials to Commercial Implementation


In June 2017, NVIDIA announced two major partnerships, adding to an impressive list amassed over the first half of 2017, which has seen the brand take considerable steps to move beyond prototype development and into commercial production. Partnerships announced with OEMs such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota at CES and GTC have now been followed by commitments to work with Volvo-Autoliv and ZF-HELLA to deliver highly automated forms of driving in the early years of the next decade.

The graphics and AI specialist vendor had their first “big win” in 2016, when a special flavor of their PX platform was selected by Tesla to underpin the second generation of their Autopilot semi-autonomous system. When the ambitious targets outlined in the various partnerships secured this year begin to materialize, NVIDIA can look forward to shipping in considerable volume in the 2020 to 2021 timeframe. Meanwhile, the deepening relationships with leading Tier One suppliers will help to enable NVIDIA and their OEM partners to integrate the PX platform and meet the ambitious deadlines.

The Strengths of NVIDIA's Approach


NVIDIA’s intense focus on and evangelism of AI—and the role it can play in speeding up the development of autonomous systems that can learn and improve over their life cycle—has established NVIDIA as a partner of choice for OEM labs, startups, and academics in autonomous prototype development. There are two key (and related) factors which have driven NVIDIA’s success in translating support for prototype trials into deals that will enable autonomous functions on the road:

  • A Scalable Platform: NVIDIA has always been keen to emphasize that they are more than a “chip company,” that they offer support and tooling to help the domains in which they seek to leverage AI effectively and efficiently. In automotive, this has included a scalable range of PX platforms (AutoCruise, AutoChauffeur, and Xavier) allowing partners to take and leverage the hardware most applicable to the level of functionality they are targeting, while giving them the freedom to take the networks they develop onto newer and more advanced iterations of the hardware layer. Volvo has previously partnered with NVIDIA to enable their DriveMe prototype models, and it is likely that Volvo, with the support of Autoliv, will be able to repurpose systems that they have developed in the trial environment to suit their on-the-road deployment. There are a number of vendors and players who have some level of autonomous prototype development who require this kind of support in the transition to a profitable commercial offering.
  • Objective-agnostic: NVIDIA recognizes that different players from the ecosystem have different end goals in automotive, and has endeavored to develop a platform that can enable their customers to meet these varying objectives. Audi is looking to implement Level 3 and then Level 4 autonomous driving, Volvo a Level 4 driving experience, while HELLA and ZF have chosen NVIDIA to support them in development of a Level 3 system and in meeting NCAP ADAS requirements. Furthermore, Toyota, in their description of the “Guardian Angel” system, seems to be leveraging NVIDIA’s platform to develop a more comprehensive active safety system than standard ADAS. The development of a platform that can support a wide range of objectives broadens the range of system implementations that NVIDIA can enable, and hastens time-to-market.

Commercial, as Well as Consumer Vehicles


In Bosch and ZF, NVIDIA enjoys partnerships with the leading consumer vehicle and commercial vehicle Tier One suppliers. While the automation of passenger cars has been the subject of considerable investment, the automation of commercial vehicles has comparatively lagged behind. By working with NVIDIA, ZF and HELLA can leverage AI to close the innovation and implementation lag between commercial and consumer vehicle autonomous technologies. Indeed, NVIDIA has already made significant inroads in the commercial vehicle market, including a partnership with PACCAR to develop SAE Level 4 autonomous driving, as announced at Bosch Connected World in Berlin. 


Companies Mentioned