Nvidia launches self-driving vehicle partnerships with Uber, Volkswagen

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Nvidia Corp., trying to spread its industry-leading graphics chip technology into new areas, said Uber Technologies Inc. and Volkswagen AG will use its artificial intelligence expertise to help bring self-driving cars to the roads.

According to Reuters, the company is planning to expand its research and development into autonomous vehicle technology by forming a series of new partnerships.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revealed Sunday during his keynote at CES 2018, the annual tech trade show in Las Vegas, that Aurora is going to be using Nvidia's new Xavier processor as one of the building blocks of its self-driving vehicle system.

Nvidia's big push into the world of autonomous vehicles has attracted a vast amount of customers for what is still early stage technology - over 320, by the company's count. Nvidia had already been supplying the Tegra chips for the Volvo XC90's that Uber had deployed for its self-driving trials in Pittsburgh and Arizona (specifically the Drive PX 2), but there was no formal partnership between the chipmaker and ride-hailing company.

Soon, Uber's self-driving cars will all think the same.

Nvidia launches self-driving vehicle partnerships with Uber, Volkswagen
Nvidia launches self-driving vehicle partnerships with Uber, Volkswagen

Nvidia, though, continues to support and work with the company.

Nvidia said development of the Uber self-driving programme had picked up the pace with one million autonomous miles being covered in just the past 100 days. The Drive IX aims at helping developers build in auto AI assistants and also act as a hub for both internal and external sensors. CNET reported that one of the items on the roadmap is a computer vision system that can recognize vehicle owners when they approach and automatically unlock the door. VW officials said they would use the technology to create an "intelligent co-pilot" to assist drivers. In total, Nvidia is now collaborating with more than 320 companies on self-driving vehicle and truck initiatives worldwide, including carmakers, auto parts suppliers and information technology firms.

Rival Intel, is also expanding AV tech partnerships, notably in projects with Alphabet's Waymo and BMW.

Volkswagen announced that it will use Nvidia's Drive IX platform in some of its upcoming vehicles, including the I.D. Buzz electric bus.

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