Chip specialist Nvidia gets a rev from Uber, Volkswagen deals
San Francisco — Nvidia, trying to spread its industry-leading graphics chip technology into new areas, said Uber Technologies and Volkswagen would use its artificial intelligence expertise to help bring self-driving cars to the roads.
Uber, the largest ride-hailing company, will use Nvidia processors and software for its forthcoming fleet of self-driving vehicles, the chip maker’s CEO, Jen-Hsun "Jensen" Huang, said at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Volkswagen would deploy Nvidia technology to develop an intelligent co-pilot system, the companies said, and Huang was joined on stage by Herbert Diess, VW’s brand chief.
Nvidia is touting the tie-ups as a way of claiming leadership in the growing competition among component makers over whose technology will dominate the emerging field of self-driving cars.
Rival chip makers such as Intel and Qualcomm have also said their technology will be the key ingredient in new systems.
Meanwhile car makers have announced collaborations with multiple companies as they try to work out the best way to remove the need for drivers.
"The map is almost everyone working with everyone," said Danny Shapiro, who heads Nvidia’s automotive business. "We’re happy with our position, with the 320 partners we have."
Uber has been working on trials of self-driving cars since 2015 and has completed 50,000 passenger trips over 2-million autonomous miles.
Uber began using Nvidia chips in its first test fleet of Volvo SUVs, the companies said.
Volkswagen and Nvidia’s co-piloting system will provide convenience and assistance features using sensors inside and outside the vehicle.
The artificial intelligence capabilities will improve the system over time. Such features may include the ability to recognise when a driver is drowsy or distracted, and keep the car running smoothly in the proper lane at the right speed for the conditions.
The companies did not provide financial details about the partnerships.