GPU-Maker Nvidia Moving into Autonomous Vehicles with Chinese Search Giant Baidu
Nvidia and Baidu, which is basically the Chinese version of Google, are teaming up to create a “cloud-to-car” autonomous car platform for auto manufacturers worldwide.
Nvidia, which is known for its high-quality graphics cards, will provide the self-driving AI, while Baidu is focused on integrating its cloud computing and mapping platforms. According to a blog post on Nvidia.com, Nvidia has pushed the AI boom forward in conjunction with Baidu, whose researcher Andrew Ng achieved “key breakthroughs” in recent years, making use of Nvidia GPUs.
Nvidia has already introduced what it calls DRIVE PX 2, “the world’s first in-car artificial intelligence supercomputer development platform,” which is powered by a software suite they call DriveWorks. While many companies, including Google, are working on self-driving car technology, and companies like Uber hope to have large autonomous fleets active in just a few short years, the development of platforms which can be used by any manufacturer will inevitably mean a faster push toward AI-car dominance.
Baidu doesn’t only want its tech to be involved, though. It has broader goals: a taxi service of its own. Baidu has already received permission from California to test its AI cars. It would seem yet another major Uber competitor is in the works. The company’s foray into automobiles does not stop there, though. They also, along with Ford, recently made a large investment in a company which is trying to supply key autonomous vehicle parts at scale for lower costs.
Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said about the partnership, “By combining these capabilities, we will be able to deliver a cloud-to-car architecture platform that promises to get cars on the road in the next several years.”
Meanwhile, veteran auto industry supplier Delphi is launching a product that will fully autonomize any vehicle in much the same way as Baidu and Nvidia’s platform. The company wants their system to be off the shelf, so any automaker that doesn’t have the resources or patience to develop their own autonomous system can simply purchase it the same way they would the Delphi electric starter or other parts. This development further moves the needle on the pace at which self-driving cars will take over the roads.
Not long before this news broke, Baidu started a hiring push at its Silicon Valley Artificial Intelligence lab. Were it to make gains in this area and become a household name, is it possible Google could see a serious competitor domestically?
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