Nvidia, the company known for gaming and 3-D graphics, is undergoing a transformation into something that might not be obvious at first glance, a leader in the self-driving vehicle movement. Nvidia has been involved in Tesla’s self-driving car technology since 2014 when the company launched the program.
This May, Nvidia also revealed a partnership with Toyota, according to Forbes. Nvidia will supply Toyota with its Drive PX computing system, and will work with Toyota engineers to craft self-driving software using Nvidia’s AI platform.
The Toyota deal is the latest in a long string of alliances Nvidia has forged in the last year, with companies including Tesla, Volvo, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Germany’s ZF and auto parts firm Bosch. Nvidia has also been working with emerging player NIO on its autonomous vehicle that it plans to launch domestically in 2020.
So how did the company known for games such as 2002’s “Dawn” go from gaming to driving? Nvidia’s senior director of automotive shared the following in an interview with Axios:
“We’ve been involved with the auto industry for two decades. First, automotive designers used our technologies to design 3-D models of cars. As processors became more powerful, we had 3-D models to simulate certain conditions, like a virtual wind tunnel and crash tests.”
He went on to say:
“Over the last ten years, we’ve been adding our technology inside the vehicle, like the infotainment screens powered by mobile processors that you see in Tesla, Audi, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Honda, and Mini…. Then the big bang of AI came about due to access to data, new algorithms and GPUs with the [horsepower] to be able to train and execute these neural networks so AI can take place in real time. We’ve been working with automakers and suppliers and sensor systems to build the systems that replace the driver.”
Nvidia is entering the fray at the perfect time, with a report from the Boston Consulting Group estimating that the market for semi and fully autonomous vehicles will grow to $42 billion by 2025.
With its structures in place and the new partnership with Toyota, Nvidia is well positioned for the self-driving future.