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NVIDIA announces a new GPU specially made for autonomous cars. Image: NVIDIA.

NVIDIA launched a self-driving vehicle at CES 2017. The company has surprised everybody with the release of its autonomous car affectionately known as BB8, name taken from The Force Awakens.

The company demonstrated in a video how the car worked on a regular trip to Starbucks. The vehicle proved functional when it interacted with the driver naturally in a spoken language, following traffic lights and respecting signs and intersections successfully.

Another demo shows BB8 dodging obstacles on a previously prepared dirt road and a variety of materials that drivers would usually find while commuting. All this with the purpose of seeing the vehicle taking detours and avoiding obstacles showing an excellent performance.

Enter the NVIDIA Drive PX 2

The magic behind all the decisions the BB8 has to make every second to keep its passengers safe is only possible thanks to the NVIDIA DRIVE™ PX 2. It is a computing platform that allows automakers to accelerate the production of automated and autonomous vehicles.

The single-processor configuration of DRIVE PX 2 for AutoCruise functions can produce highway automated driving and HD mapping. It allows vehicles to use deep neural networks to process all the data provided by multiple cameras and sensors that autonomous vehicles need to work properly.

The processor can analyze the things happening around the car in real time, locate itself on the HD map it produces, and this way decide which way to go. It is the world’s most advanced platform for self-driving vehicles. It combines deep learning, sensor function, and surround vision to make the driving experience safer.

The architecture is available in a different number of configurations. They go from one passively cooled mobile processor that operates at 10 watts to a much more complex multi-chip configuration with two mobile processors and two discrete GPUs that can produce 24 trillion deep learning operations per second. Multiple platforms can work in parallel to enable partial or fully autonomous driving.

So far, the company hasn’t announced a possible release date or price.

Mercedes-Benz and NVIDIA

CES 2017, Las Vegas, Nevada. NVIDIA and Mercedes-Benz announced a partnership to bring a car that uses NVIDIA technology to the market. The two companies are going to be focusing on deep learning and artificial intelligence.

According to NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun, deep learning is a breakthrough that happened several years ago, and it has completely revolutionized computing in many aspects.

Source: NVIDIA