Nvidia Moves Self-Driving Car Tests from Road to Data Center

Nvidia Moves Self-Driving Car Tests from Road to Data Center

Unsafe situations can be scripted in simulation to test the autonomous car's ability to react, without ever putting anyone in harm's way.

The chipmaker will be hosting its annual GPU Technology Conference in San Jose this week, and many expect the company to discuss several announcements regarding its automotive technology and products. On May 18, a Volvo XC90 SUV equipped with Uber's autonomous vehicle system struck and killed a pedestrian who was crossing the road.

Nvidia is helping autonomous vehicle manufacturers fit in more testing miles, faster. "It's a reminder of how hard [self-driving car] technology is and that it needs to be approached with extreme caution and the best safety technologies", Nvidia said in a statement. Constellation offers a safer way to test self-driving cars, to prevent accidents like the one involving Uber in Arizona last week.

"This tragedy is exactly why we've committed ourselves to perfecting this life-saving technology". Currently, over 370 partner companies and about 200 startups are using various versions of NVIDIA's DRIVE platform to develop their self-driving technology.

Ultimately, autonomous vehicles "will be far safer than human drivers, so this important work needs to continue", the Santa Clara, California-based company said in an email.

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Constellation relies on two different types of server, one running Drive Sim software to simulate photorealistic data from self-driving vehicles' sensors, such as lidar and cameras. News of Nvidia's self-driving auto testing suspension was first reported by Reuters.

To no surprise, the simulation is powered by NVIDIA GPUs.

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. "DRIVE Constellation for virtually testing and validating will bring us a step closer to the production of self-driving cars".

Uber proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities following the accident.

The testing may be taking place in a virtual environment, but it's happening on the same hardware and software that would be found in a self-driving auto, Nvidia's Danny Shapiro explained in a briefing.

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