This month, chip designer NVIDIA made several announcements at its annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC) that prove software and silicon semiconductor chips will continue to play vital roles in creating safer, more advanced autonomous vehicles (AVs). Two automakers – Volvo and Faraday Future – revealed that they plan to use NVIDIA’s latest technology in their upcoming AVs.
Volvo and Faraday Future announced plans to use NVIDIA’s Drive Orin technology with their vehicles. Drive Orin is a software-defined autonomous vehicle computing platform that NVIDIA says is the "most advanced, functionally safe and secure, software-defined autonomous vehicle computing platform" in the industry.
Volvo will use Orin as it develops its next-generation autonomous driving technology. And Faraday Future revealed that it will use Orin in its upcoming luxury electric vehicle, the FF 91, which will go on sale in 2022.
NVIDIA's plans for its automotive division in the coming years include ways to make ever-more powerful chips handle ever-more complicated autonomous driving tasks. Drive Atlan, a system-on-a-chip, will be used to improve performance and security in next-generation self-driving vehicles. Drive Sim, an updated simulation suite, can generate "a near infinite range of real-world scenarios for AV development and validation." In other words, autonomous vehicles will get smarter based on these new chips and products.
The relationship between Volvo and NVIDIA isn’t new. The two companies have been working together on self-driving vehicles since 2016.
The fruits of that partnership will be available on dealer lots in 2022 when the next-generation XC90 arrives. As announced in 2018, these new Volvo models will use NVIDIA's Drive AGX Xavier computer to offer assisted driving features beyond the Level 2 systems that are becoming relatively standard on new vehicles. Volvo's autonomous driving feature is called Highway Pilot. NVIDIA said that its technology makes next-gen vehicles "state-of-the-art data centers on wheels."
It's not just U.S.-market vehicles that have plenty of NVIDIA’s technology inside. At this month's Shanghai Auto Show, plenty of new models were on display bearing NVIDIA’s chips and technology. The list includes electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz's EQ family, the P5 and P7 sedans from Xpeng, and the Nio ET7.
Car shoppers have become more aware of the value of silicon semiconductor chips given rising prices caused by the current chip shortage. The shortage has paused production at some automotive factories around the world.