A Powerful New Computer to Help Teach Cars to Drive

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Last Updated: Sep 17, 2016

Cars are getting smarter and are now creeping closer to driving themselves! Nvidia has been working with automakers for nearly a decade to power things like infotainment systems and dashboards. Nvidia is a maker of components and semiconductors for video games rigs, and its products like Tegra processors can be found in Honda, Tesla Model S, VW and BMW automobiles.

Powering automobiles

Nvidia’s processors have become more powerful and its now moving into a sphere where that power can be used juice more computation including a new class of artificial intelligence called Deep learning. Deep learning services typically provide things like natural language translation and speech recognition over the internet, from massive computer data centers. But Nvidia wants to squeeze that kind of power into cars. This has resulted in Drive PX, which is a powerful self-driving car computer. Drive PX can be used by researchers, developers and automakers to work on cars that don’t need humans behind the wheel.


Drive PX has 2.3 teraflops of processing power more than the world’s best supercomputer of 15 years back. This is because it has two Tegra X1 processors. It is 3,000 times faster than its Dapra predecessor. Drive PX can handle 12 cameras simultaneously – or a combination of radar, cameras and LiDAR. It is the most advanced car computing platform on the planet as of now. It comes with software which includes computer vision algorithms which are optimized for Tegra processors.


Starting in May, universities, automakers and developers can get their hands on Drive PX for $10,000. If you are excited about the idea of your own self-driving car, don’t worry about that $10,000 price tag. Any automaker who decides to use Drive PX, or a derivative of its technology, in vehicles made for consumers, then the per car amount will be very affordable, says Danny Shapiro, a senior director of auto marketing.


According to Danny Shapiro, Drive PX could be a development platform for building a self-driving car faster and more easily than automakers could otherwise. The idea is to help users develop their own self-driving car platforms.

Audi Is Not Left Behind

Audi is also using the next generation of the Nvidia technology in its zFAS system, as the central brain that will manage all of the functions needed for autonomous driving. Ricky Hudi, Audi’s head of electronics, says the company sees Drive PX as a crucial tool for further research and development of autonomous tech.

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