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Jul 10, 2017,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Self-driving cars: Volvo partners up with Nvidia’s supercomputers

Volvo and Nvidia have signed a partnership agreement for the development of a self-driving system, with the Swedish manufacturer hoping to put its own autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021.




Like many of its fellow carmakers, Volvo is looking to market its first fully self-driving cars by the 2020s. Now under Chinese ownership, the Swedish firm has called on the services of US chipmaker Nvidia in an effort to make that happen, signing a partnership agreement for the development of an autonomous driving system (ADS), Numerama says.


An international collaboration


The partnership will see Nvidia develop the ADS for Zenuity, a joint venture founded at the start of the year by Volvo and the Swedish firm Autoliv, which specialises in the design of car safety equipment.

Nvidia’s specific goal is to develop artificial intelligence (AI) capable of detecting objects within the vehicle’s environment, anticipate hazards and ensure the safety of the vehicle. Volvo will then fit the system in its cars, while Autoliv will have the task of promoting it to other carmakers.




Nvidia garnered considerable media coverage in 2016 in unveiling the Drive PX 2, a supercomputer designed specifically for use in self-driving cars, says.

Equipped with the most state-of-the-art graphics processing units (GPUs), which are able to handle up to 12 video feeds, and optimised for deep learning and all the other operations a self-driving car must be able to perform, the computer can deliver nearly eight trillion operations per second in performing driving-related calculations and a total of 24 trillion deep-learning operations.

Volvo’s decision to harness the outstanding capabilities of the supercomputer is based on the fact that the Drive PX 2 offers hitherto unseen possibilities in terms of deep learning, allowing it to manufacture a truly autonomous and reliable vehicle.


A leader in autonomous technology


The partnership between Volvo and Nvidia is already up and running, with cars fitted with an Nvidia driving system having been trialled on the streets of the Swedish city of Gothenburg for several months now, while the prototype of an autonomous dustbin truck has also been successfully trialled.

Danny Shapiro, Senior Director of Automotive at Nvidia, said: “We’ll be able to project traffic patterns and we’ll be able to protect areas of potential congestion and really work with infrastructure, vehicles and navigation systems to optimize traffic flow and ultimately reduce congestion.

"Looking through social media or websites or transit schedules, we’ll be able to detect trends and see what’s happening in communities and help people plan their journeys", Shapiro says.

Nvidia has also entered into partnerships with other carmakers, among them Mercedes, Audi and Toyota, allowing it to position itself as a leader in the autonomous vehicle industry.


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