Nvidia Unveils Powerful New Processor for Self-Driving Cars
The new Tegra "Parker" processor is pegged as the power behind the company's Drive PX 2 platform for autonomous vehicles that was introduced at CES in January.Nvidia is driving forward its ambitions in the fast-growing autonomous vehicle space with a powerful new mobile processor that pairs its latest Denver 2.0 CPU and Pascal-based GPUs to power deep-learning applications that will make cars smart enough to recognize and respond to obstacles such as bikers and pedestrians. Nvidia engineers unveiled the details of the Tegra "Parker" processor this week at the Hot Chips 2016 show, noting the chip is aimed at automotive uses such as self-driving cars and digital cockpits in vehicles. Given the power and capabilities in the chip, it also could drive applications in other areas such as gaming and mobile devices. Company executives have identified both artificial intelligence and autonomous cars as key growth markets, and have added to Nvidia's portfolio in the automotive space over the past several months. At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang introduced the Drive PX 2 (pictured), a computer designed for self-driving cars that he said had the massive amount of computing power needed for autonomous vehicles to find their way along complex and congested roads full of obstacles and challenges. Such vehicles—which essentially are computers on wheels—must be able to collect and analyze in real time huge amounts of data from various controls systems and sensors, react accordingly and learn as they go, Huang said. Drive PX 2 delivers that compute power. Leveraging the parallel processing power of the vendor's GPUs is a key to future self-driving cars, the CEO said.
"Modern artificial intelligence and GPU breakthroughs enable us to finally tackle the daunting challenges of self-driving cars," Huang said in a statement at the time. "Nvidia's GPU is central to advances in deep learning and supercomputing. 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."