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Volkswagen shares rise, carmaker announces Nvidia self-driving tech partnership

Volkswagen shares rise, carmaker announces Nvidia self-driving tech partnership

To underscore the industry's confidence in its technologies, NVIDIA on Sunday jointly announced supply agreements with Volkswagen, Uber, ZF and Baidu for future self-driving vehicle platforms in Europe, North America and China.

"Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the vehicle", said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess to the CES audience.

Diess said: "Autonomous driving, zero-emission mobility and digital networking are virtually impossible without advances in AI and deep learning. Working with NVIDIA, the leader in AI technology, enables us to take a big step into the future". Nvidia also introduced AutoSim, a simulated, virtual driving environment that lets users configure the cameras on a vehicle before production. "Together, we are building a new generation of cars that are safer, more enjoyable to ride in than anything that has come before, and accessible to everyone", Huang added on stage. Xavier is part of Nvidia's broader computer system for self-driving cars called Pegasus, which the company says is about the size of a license plate and allows for Level 5 autonomy - meaning vehicles would be able to operate without a steering wheel, gas pedal or mirrors.

The NVIDIA Pegasus is powered by two Drive Xaviers and, in theory, Huang says it can power a "robot taxi" with only 400 watts of power.

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Xavier represents the work of more than 2,000 NVIDIA engineers and a $2 billion investment in research and development.

As part of what it more generally calls the "software-defined vehicle", Nvidia's Drive platform allows for over-the-air updates, much as your phone's operating system can be updated remotely to enable new features.

Nvidia is known as a graphics processing chipmaker. "Delivering the performance of a trunk full of PCs in an auto-grade form factor the size of a license plate, it's the world's first AI vehicle supercomputer designed for fully autonomous Level 5 robotaxis".

NVIDIA's DRIVE Pegasus will be available during the second half of 2018 (samples will ship during mid-2018). The ride-hailing company's self-driving auto fleet is primarily composed of Volvo XC90s, SUVs with Nvidia processors built into them. However, until now it's been much more reluctant than its chief competitor, Lyft, to partner up with carmakers and other technology companies, preferring to mostly develop its tech in-house and through acquisitions.