Nvidia using cloud to simulate self-driving vehicles covering billions of miles

Nvidia using cloud to simulate self-driving vehicles covering billions of miles

At CES in January, the company announced that it was partnering with Uber on its autonomous vehicle tests.

The decision comes on the heels of news last week that a pedestrian hit by one of Uber Technology Inc.'s autonomous vehicles died in Arizona, marking the first fatal accident involving self-driving vehicles.

But following a fatal accident last week in which an Uber self-driving auto struck and killed a pedestrian while in autonomous driving mode, Nvidia is suspending its testing. The promise is to move self-driving vehicle testing off the public roads and into data centers before the technology is proven out. "It's a reminder of how hard SDC technology is and that it needs to be approached with extreme caution and the best safety technologies", a Nvidia spokesperson said in an email.

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Alphabet's self-driving auto unit Waymo announced last month that its test vehicles had achieved 5 million self-driven miles since 2009, when the company started the tests.

One of the servers in Nvidia's new Drive Constellation Simulation System, powered by the company's GPUs, runs Nvidia-developed Drive Sim software, which simulates cameras, LIDAR, RADAR - sensors a self-driving auto uses to observe its physical environment. "DRIVE Constellation for virtually testing and validating will bring us a step closer to the production of self-driving cars".

Nvidia is best known for providing technology for other companies in sectors ranging from bitcoin mining to self-driving cars, but it also has its own fleet of self-driving cars, used for research and development purposes. "Our global fleet of manually driven data collection vehicles continue to operate".

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To no surprise, the simulation is powered by NVIDIA GPUs.

"We're able to deploy this in the cloud and scale it up to generate billions of miles that ultimately will be able to showcase and statistically show how ... these self-driving algorithms" perform, Danny Shapiro, Nvidia's senior director, automotive, said in a phone briefing with reporters.

The second server houses the Nvidia DRIVE Pegasus AI, which will process the gathered data as if it's coming from sensors in a self-driving vehicle on the road. Nvidia is now leading the charge in developing technologies for self-driving vehicles, and it's not taking the news of Uber's fatal crash lightly. "See the latest breakthroughs in self-driving cars, smart cities, healthcare, big data, high performance computing, virtual reality and more", writes the firm.

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