Nvidia's Drive PX 2 is the world's first in-car AI supercomputer

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The new computer uses deep learning for advanced object detection and path planning(Credit: Nvidia)

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Nvidia has announced the successor to last year's Drive PX in-car computer. The new model, known as the Drive PX 2, is liquid cooled and seriously powerful, sporting 12 CPU cores and 8 teraflops of processing power. It's designed to allow vehicles to accurately sense their surroundings and navigate autonomously.

The computer is designed to provide autonomous vehicles with the latest Nvidia GPU tech, allowing for 360-degree situational awareness. According to the company, in terms of raw power, it's roughly equivalent to 150 MacBook Pros. Nvidia believes that the level of power provided by the new computer will be necessary if self-driving cars are ever to hit the mainstream.

With autonomous vehicles using an array of sensors, the Drive PX 2 is naturally able to process information from a wide range of sources. It can handle inputs from 12 video cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and both radar and LiDAR. All that data is combined and analyzed by Nvidia's DriveWorks software tool set, allowing the vehicle to picture the world around it, determine its position, pinpoint obstacles, and plot the safest possible route.

It's made up of two Tegra CPUs paired with two discrete GPUs based on the company's Pascal architecture. That hardware provides 8 teraflops of processing power, allowing for up to 24 trillion deep learning operations per second.

According to Nvidia, the deep learning system is better at addressing certain issues than traditional computer vision techniques. In particular, it's more capable of identifying and dealing with difficult lighting scenarios, such as sunrise and sunset, and adverse weather conditions like snow or heavy rain.

The capable-looking computer will be put through its paces by Volvo, who will use it in a fleet of 100 XC90 SUVs. Those vehicles will hit the road next year as part of the company's Drive Me autonomous car pilot program. It's a big part of Volvo's long term plan, with the company believing that such systems will play a significant role in road safety.

"Our vision is that no-one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by the year 2020," said Volvo program director Marcus Rothoff. "Nvidia's high-performance and responsive automotive platform is an important step towards our vision and perfect for our autonomous drive program and the Drive Me project."

Source: Nvidia

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