Being able to take your eyes off the road to read a newspaper while your car drives itself seemed like a distant future just a couple years ago.
But thanks to U.S. graphics chip maker NVIDIA, that dream could become a reality as soon as the year 2020.
The Chinese electric car companies XPeng Motors, Singulato Motors and SF Motors have signed a deal with the chipmaker to useNVIDIA's Xavier AI chip to bring Level 3 autonomous driving — meaning that you can take your eyes off the road but still have to be able to react — to upcoming EVs in China, as reported by Reuters.
In October, Swedish multinational car maker Volvo officially signed up to useNVIDIA's self-driving car platform as well. Volkswagen and Uber have also signed similar deals.
NVIDIA introduced the autonomous driving platform, including a Xavier developer kit, back in September. The NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Xavier car computer that comes with the kit is capable of taking care of a self-driving car's heavy computational load — obstacle recognition, driver monitoring, and other aspects of autonomous driving.
These tasks are very hardware intensive, and according to NVIDIA's press release, AI-powered self-driving cars "cars must rely on numerous deep neural networks running simultaneously."
Hands Off the Wheel
The chip maker also released an autonomous driving safety report back in October, to prove to federal regulators that their platform is safe to use.
The race is on to bring a mainstream NVIDIA DRIVE self-driving car to the market — whether it'll be in the U.S. or China.
READ MORE: U.S. chipmaker Nvidia to provide AI platform for Chinese EV start-ups [Reuters]
More on NVIDIA's self-driving car platform: NVIDIA Has Designed a Compact AI Computer to Drive Fully Autonomous Vehicles