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Nvidia Partners With Volkswagen, Uber For Self-Driving Cars

Nvidia Partners With Volkswagen, Uber For Self-Driving Cars

The logo of technology company Nvidia is seen at its headquarters in Santa Clara, California | Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Nvidia is partnering up with Volkswagen and ride-sharing company Uber to develop self-driving cars. This was announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show and stems from the recent advances made by the graphics chipmaker's artificial intelligence platforms.

According to the company, the key to their partnership was the Nvidia Xavier processor – touted as the world's most powerful system on a chip (SoC). In addition to their partnership announcement, the company also revealed that there will be samples of the chip for select people in the first quarter of this year.

"The complexity of future cars is incredible," said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang at a press conference this week. "It begins with Xavier, which can do deep learning, computer vision and high-performance computing at highly efficient levels."

Nvidia says that the Xavier chip can do 30 trillion operations each second on just 30 watts of power. The company also claims that the actual size of the chip is much smaller than what's currently available with the example showing Xavier working on a board that's not even as big as a license plate.

While Nvidia might be a household name for many when it comes to gaming thanks to their top-of-the-line GPUs (graphics processing units), they have also branched out from their core business becoming a top player in the field of cryptocurrencies and SoCs.

Prior to their partnership, Uber has been using Nvidia's GPU computing technology since its first test fleet of Volvo SC90 SUVS was deployed in 2016 in Pittsburgh and Phoenix. Despite the setback brought by a recent lawsuit, the company and Nvidia are confident with the latter saying that development of the Uber self-driving program had gained steam, with one million autonomous miles being driven in just the past 100 days.

As for Volkswagen, Nvidia says that they are infusing its artificial intelligence in the German automaker's new vehicle line Nvidia's new Drive IX platform. The technology will allow a so-called "intelligent co-pilot" feature by processing data gathered from both inside and outside the vehicle.