At the GTC Europe 2017 on Tuesday, Nvidia unveiled a mega size platform for the autonomous vehicles. Dubbed as Pegasus, the super platform designed by Nvidia is the size of a car license plate and is equipped with the datacenter class processing power.
Nvidia claims that Pegasus can run the Class 5 cars entirely, delivering over 320 trillion operations per second, or 10 times more than the power of its predecessor. A level 5 vehicle can drive itself, and no driver is required, meanwhile, a level 3 car is required to have a steering wheel and a driver to take control in case of an emergency. A Level 4 car has all driver-less features, but for dedicated lanes. None of the vehicles commercially available today are higher than a level 2.
Most automakers claim that they may skip level 3 and level 4, and go directly to level 5, notes The Verge. By late 2018, the company plans to ship the Nvidia Pegasus to hundreds of automakers and tech companies that are currently working on the self-driving cars. The world’s largest logistics company, DHL Group, has already agreed to deploy Nvidia Pegasus chips in their autonomous fleet of trucks, the chip maker said.
Nvidia Pegasus is based on CUDA GPUs, increasing the practicality of the computing hardware requirements to make sure that self-driving cars run on real roads. Nvidia Pegasus consists of four AI processors including Nvidia’s two latest generation Xavier system-on-a-chip model integrated with embedded Nvidia Volta GPU, and two next-generation discrete GPUs designed to increase the rate of deep learning and computer vision. The chip maker is confident that Pegasus will save energy as well as cost.
According to Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, “Creating a fully self-driving car is one of society’s most important endeavors — and one of the most challenging to deliver. With Pegasus monitoring the surroundings and safely driving, the industry can offer a range of new vehicle types, resembling offices, living rooms, or hotel rooms on wheels.”
With Pegasus, which will target the ride-hailing economy, Nvidia hopes to help create new robo-taxis that are better drivers than humans. The firm states that rides will be safer as the robo-taxis will be smarter than humans, plus the self-driving vehicles are “never fatigued, impaired or distracted.” These robo-taxis will also help in reducing congestion and free up areas currently used for parking the vehicles.
Luca De Ambroggi, the principal automotive electronics analyst with market research firm IHS Markit, notes that compared to their peers, Nvidia is a step ahead, but the difference between Nvidia and giants like Intel, Bosch and NXP is very narrow. Intel is already working with the German carmaker BMW and U.S. auto supplier Delphi on the autonomous driving platform, which would be released in 2021. Qualcomm will acquire NXP to become the world’s largest auto electronics supplier, whereas Bosch, the industry’s top auto supplier is already working with Daimler, notes Reuters.
In pre-market trading today, Nvidia shares were up almost 4%. Year to date, the stock is up almost 74%, while in the last three-months, it is up over 26%.