NVIDIA, ZF and Baidu have announced they are creating a production-ready AI autonomous vehicle platform designed for China, the world’s largest automotive market. China makes up 30 percent of the global passenger vehicle market.
At the opening press conference of CES 2018, NVIDIA Founder and CEO Jensen Huang said that the collaboration is based on the new NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier, ZF’s new ProAI car computer and Baidu’s Apollo Pilot, an autonomous driving product targeted for mass production.
“NVIDIA and Baidu have pioneered significant advances in deep learning and AI together over the past several years,” said Huang. “Now, together with ZF, we have created the first AI autonomous vehicle computing platform for China.”
NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier, available this quarter, is the autonomous machine processor at the heart of this functionally safe system. It is capable of performing 30 deep learning TOPS (trillions of operations per second), using only 30 watts of power. In addition to its extreme efficiency, Xavier also enables rich, diverse I/O connections to many different types of sensors, according to the companies.
As one of the world’s top automotive suppliers, Germany-based ZF brings expertise for system integration of the car computer and the sensors. ZF’s new Xavier-based ProAI will process inputs from multiple cameras, plus lidar and radar, painting a 360-degree view around the vehicle, locating it on an HD map and finding a safe path through traffic.
“Our scalable and modular approach enables us to upgrade to our new ProAI based on NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier, and integrate the Baidu Apollo Pilot. Our second-generation ZF ProAI could be customized accordingly and scaled up with a Xavier board, which is available to be implemented,” said Torsten Gollewski, senior vice president of Advanced Engineering at ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
Baidu’s Apollo open autonomous driving platform provides a comprehensive, secure and reliable all-in-one solution that supports all major features and functions of an autonomous vehicle. Apollo Pilot is an autonomous driving product targeted for mass production, which provides a safe, economical and comfortable autonomous driving experience. It’s built on Baidu’s technology and insight from the driving behaviors of Chinese users.
“NVIDIA’s AI supercomputing architecture is ideal for our autonomous driving applications, as it can process huge amounts of data from sensors in real time, and localize the vehicle on our high-definition digital maps,” said Zhenyu Li, vice president and general manager of the Intelligent Driving Group at Baidu. “We’ve been working with NVIDIA on developing on-vehicle chips for autonomous driving, which aims to accelerate the pace of mass production of autonomous vehicles.”
This solution is created not only for Chinese automakers, but any vehicle maker planning to do business in China, and can scale from super Level 2 automated driving capabilities to Level 5 fully autonomous robotaxis. Production vehicles utilizing AI self-driving technologies from NVIDIA, ZF and Baidu are expected on the roads of China starting in 2020.