Nvidia on Monday held a pre-CES 2016 event, where it announced the new Drive PX 2, what it is calling the supercomputer for cars. The successor to last year's Drive PX, the graphics card and mobile CPU maker claims that the Drive PX 2 is the world's most powerful engine for in-vehicle artificial intelligence.
To illustrate that claim, the company says the Nvidia Drive PX 2 offers as much processing power as 150 Apple MacBook Pro laptops combined - with its GPU architecture capable of 8 trillion operations per second (teraflops), and 24 trillion deep learning operations per second.
The Drive PX 2 is designed to serve as the brain for self-driving cars. The Drive PX 2 houses two Tegra SoCs and two Pascal GPUs, said to deliver 10 times the processing power as the Drive PX. And if it wasn't clear already, Nvidia is betting on processing power in hand as opposed to relying on the cloud for that. It claims that the processing power the company has packed in the lunch box sized computer can handle inputs from 12 video cameras, radar, lidar, and other sensors. All this will allow the Drive PX 2 to tackle the "full breadth of autonomous driving algorithms, including sensor fusion, localization and path planning."
Nvidia adds that the system also features 360-degree situational awareness around the car. A car powered with this computer will also be able to address unexpected road debris and construction zones. The computer can also address poor weather conditions such as rain, snow, and fog, and difficult lighting conditions. To offset the heat it would generate, the Drive PX 2 also comes with a liquid cooling system.
"Drivers deal with an infinitely complex world," said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO, NVIDIA. "Modern artificial intelligence and GPU breakthroughs enable us to finally tackle the daunting challenges of self-driving cars. "[...] We are leveraging these to create the brain of future autonomous vehicles that will be continuously alert, and eventually achieve superhuman levels of situational awareness."
As for software, Nvidia noted that the complex work is facilitated by DriveWorks, software tools, libraries and modules that enables sensor calibration, synchronisation, and "processing streams of sensor data through a complex pipeline of algorithms running on all of the DRIVE PX 2's specialized and general-purpose processors."
Nvidia will make the Drive PX 2 available to its early access development partners in the second quarter. The company claimed that more than 50 automakers, suppliers, developers, and institutions adopted its Drive PX platform that was introduced in March this year.