Nvidia's Drive PX 2 car supercomputers will see their first real-world test just next year, when they will be used in Swedish carmaker Volvo's Drive Me autonomous car pilot. The Drive PX 2 enables autonomous cars to use a kind of artificial intelligence called "deep learning" to navigate roads safely.
The push for autonomous vehicles comes as part of Volvo's Vision 2020, an initiative for creating safer vehicles that has already seen a lot of work go into developing autonomous and semi-autonomous technology. “Our vision is that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by the year 2020,” explains Marcus Rothoff, Volvo's director of the Autonomous Driving Programme. “NVIDIA’s high-performance and responsive automotive platform is an important step towards our vision and perfect for our autonomous drive programme and the Drive Me project.”
The pilot programme will consist of 100 Volvo XC90 SUVs, all kitted out with the Nvidia Drive PX 2 engine. While most autonomous cars thus far have required a whole bank of computers to provide the necessary processing power, Nvidia's tablet-sized computer promises to provide the same level of performance.
The Drive Me pilot is set to take place in the manufacturer's hometown of Gothenburg in Sweden, starting next year. The route has been selected from some of the city's most popular commuter routes — mostly consisting of highways with wide lanes and a lack of pedestrians. Volvo will also carry out semi-autonomous tests of the cars in locations outside of this selected route.
“Volvo’s Drive Me project is the ideal application of our DRIVE PX 2 engine and deep learning,” said Nvidia's Rob Csongor, vice president and general manager of Automotive. “We are bringing years of work by thousands of NVIDIA engineers to help Volvo achieve its safety goals and move self-driving cars from Gothenburg to the rest of the globe.”