Nvidia, Mercedes-Benz Build AI-Powered Self-Driving System

Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz collaborated on an AI-enabled in-vehicle computing system, powered by Nvidia’s Drive AGX Orin and set to launch in 2024. The new system will be able to automate driving of regular routes and, via an over-the-air-in-car system, allow drivers to download in-car safety, convenience, entertainment and subscription apps and services. Drive AGX Orin relies on a system-on-chip built of 17 billion transistors that integrates with Nvidia’s graphics chip architecture and Hercules cores.

VentureBeat reports that the AGX Drive platform, which can run a “large number of apps and AI models while achieving safety standards such as ISO 26262,” also offers “AI and machine learning accelerator cores that deliver 200 trillion operations per second (TOPS) … while consuming only 60 watts to 70 watts of power (at 200 TOPS).”

Among the AI subsystems that Nvidia plans to make available are those “tailored to tasks like traffic light and sign recognition, object-spotting of vehicles and pedestrians, path perception, and gaze detection and gesture recognition.” Nvidia’s “suite of tools … enable training using a range of machine learning development techniques,” including active learning, federated learning, and transfer learning.

The partners also plan to collaborate on the development of “the AI and automated vehicle applications capable of level 2 and 3 self-driving, as well as automated parking functions up to level 4.”

Per SAE International (formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers), level 2 refers to “systems that take full control of vehicles but require drivers to be prepared to intervene at any time, while level 3 allows drivers to safely turn their attention away from driving tasks and level 4 requires no driver attention for safety.”

Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz’s partnership dates back to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show when they “showcased a concept cockpit dubbed the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, which infused AI into car infotainment systems.” Later that year, Nvidia, Mercedes and Bosch “announced a partnership to operate a robo-taxi service in San Jose.”

Engadget reports that level 2 and 3 driving autonomy is “on par and exceeding the current abilities of Tesla’s Autopilot, respectively.” It identifies the “most intriguing future feature” as the over-air updates, which will let drivers “buy and remotely install additional safety and convenience features, software applications, and subscription services for as long as they own the vehicle … similar to how Tesla sells its Enhanced Autopilot upgrades.”