Nvidia announced several new partners for its efforts to bring autonomous cars to public roads in a production capacity, but the biggest by far was Audi. Nvidia is working with carmaker to bring its AI driving tech, which is available thanks to the latest in-car autonomous computing software and hardware, to market by 2020.
Audi and Nvidia have worked together before, but the new partnership, announced by the Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on stage at the CES 2017, will see the companies working to produce a “Level 4” automatic vehicle — that means a car capable of driving entirely on its own. As an early proof of concept, the two companies have already collaborated on a experimental self-driving Q7 SUV. Nvidia says that the car — which is on display at CES — learned to drive itself in just four days, using its AI tech.
There is still a lot we do not know. What’s the roadmap between now and then? Which streets, exactly? And will these be cars you can buy, or just test mules? Even if it isn’t quite as earth-shattering as NVIDIA makes it out to be, though, it represents a milestone for the company’s ambitions in driverless technology. While the Audi is an obvious partner given its history with NVIDIA (the companies have collaborated a few times before), it is telling that the automaker is willing to stake the future of its autonomous vehicles on NVIDIA’s hardware.
It will be interesting to see if Nvidia’s partnership can help Audi gain a lead over its rivals in bringing self-driving cars to the market.