NVIDIA aims to make self-driving safer with virtual simulations

GTC18 - NVIDIA and Arm partner to make IoT smarter

Nvidia Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang told the assorted throngs at the company's annual GPU Conference in San Jose, California that Uber should be given a chance to understand what went wrong."We don't know what happened". Nvidia's 2018 GTC is the company's largest so far, with almost 8000 registered attendees.

Nvidia has revealed Drive Constellation, a virtual reality autonomous vehicle simulator that aims to hasten development of self-driving software. The NVSwitch takes the innovations that came from NVIDIA NVLink and extends them further, aided the build of even more advanced and complex systems.

"We at Nvidia are dedicating ourselves to solving this problem". For example, as an early contributor and Open Compute Project (OCP) solution provider, Penguin Computing was recently awarded a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) tri-laboratory program to provide NVIDIA Tesla Volta-based GPU systems.

"We spared no expense on this, and we wanted to make sure that we were never limited by GPU to GPU communication", says Buck. Having multiple servers helps with this. As you'd probably guess, it simulates all of the technology you'd find on a self-driving vehicle, including sensors, cameras, radar and lidar (the light and distance measuring component).

Uber has been using Nvidia's computing technology since its first test fleet of Volvo SC90 SUVS were deployed in 2016.

The simulation server is powered by Nvidia GPUs, which generate a stream of simulated sensor data, feeding into the Drive Pegasus for processing. This data is processed just like it is actually coming from the sensors of a auto on the road-at speeds of 30 times per second.

The technology is created to allow automakers and others to validate their technology on billions of driving miles and increase the strength of their algorithms by repeatedly testing hard scenarios, which would be impractical in the real world. That feedback loop occurs 30 times a second, according to NVIDIA.


One major advantage of DRIVE Sim software is photorealistic images.

The Nvidia DRIVE platform is used by over 370 companies developing self-driving technology, including automakers and robotaxi companies and makers of self-driving hardware, such as sensors, Huang said on Tuesday. "DRIVE Constellation for virtually testing and validating will bring us a step closer to the production of self-driving cars". It can simulate different weather such as rainstorms and snowstorms; blinding glare at different times of the day, or limited vision at night; and all different types of road surfaces and terrain.

"This means you can easily test rare and hard conditions: rainstorms, snowstorms, and sharp glare at different times of the day and night, with different road surfaces and surroundings", the company says.

IHS Markit research and analyst director Luca De Ambroggi said: "Autonomous vehicles need to be developed with a system that covers training to testing to driving".

The price tag for the DGX-2 server is $399,000; availability is scheduled for the third quarter.

NVIDIA updated its deep-learning and HPC stacks to take advantage of the switch and the additional memory available in the Tesla V100.

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