Nvidia details Constellation self-driving simulation system

Above Will the Internet of Things be interoperable?Image Credit Dean Takahashi

Above Will the Internet of Things be interoperable?Image Credit Dean Takahashi

The Silicon Valley firm is ubiquitous in the budding self-driving technology sector, with ongoing partnerships with automakers, technology companies and auto suppliers, including Tesla Inc, Uber Technologies Inc, China'sBaidu Inc and Volkswagen AG.

At the company's annual GTC Summit in San Jose, California, Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang announced a two-server solution that simulates data generated by a self-driving vehicle and trains a driving algorithm using that data. On May 18, a Volvo XC90 SUV equipped with Uber's autonomous vehicle system struck and killed a pedestrian who was crossing the road. The promise is to move self-driving auto testing off the public roads and into data centers before the technology is proven out.

Nvidia suggested that the accident was a reminder of the challenges facing the development of self-driving technology, and has reaffirmed the company's approach of "extreme caution" and "the best safety technologies".

Nvidia is working on self-driving cars of its own, as well, since some of its customers want the hardware maker to provide all the components necessary for them to create an autonomous vehicle.

"This tragedy is exactly why we've committed ourselves to perfecting this life-saving technology".


The chipmaker is testing self-driving technology globally including in New Jersey, Santa Clara, Japan and Germany. NVIDIA is combining its visual computing expertise with its processing power with its DRIVE Constellation Simulation System.

Constellation relies on two different types of server, one running Drive Sim software to simulate photorealistic data from self-driving vehicles' sensors, such as lidar and cameras.

"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. We are temporarily suspending the testing of our self-driving cars on public roads to learn from the Uber incident. Earlier today, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey suspended Uber's ability to test and operate self-driving cars on public roads in the state.

Last week, Toyota also halted its self-driving vehicle testing. Waymo uses simulation in addition to physical testing.

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