Nvidia debuts self-driving cars on California roads

Seems like everyone is getting in the self-driving car tech game these days.

Nvidia is the latest company to throw its hat in the ring. On first thought, car tech may seem like an unnatural fit for the tech company, but there is a connection there. 

In IT Blogwatch, we go along for the ride. 

So what is going on? Adam Westlake has the background:

California is a hotbed for autonomous vehicle testing, with...companies like Google, Ford, Tesla, Mercedes, and more...getting approval to put their cars on the road. Well, things are going to get even more crowded...as Nvidia is the latest company to get permission from the California DMV, allowing it to test its own self-driving car technology on public roads...Nvidia’s permit was granted late last week, and its car was...spotted in the Bay Area this weekend.

Wait, Nvidia? Self-driving cars isn't what that company usually focuses on, right? Aaron Mamiit has the details:

Nvidia [is] known for its graphics cards and processors...The industry that Nvidia is...a part of makes it look out of place on the list of companies...allowed to test self-driving cars in California, but it has been heavily involved in the development of the technology.

So how did Nvidia get involved in self-driving cars anyway? Raphael Labuguen hints at the connetion:

The first mention of Nvidia with...self-driving car tech...was in 2015 when the company’s co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang sat down with Elon Musk...Musk...made it clear that advances in GPU technology...the main business of Nvidia, will play a key role in the ambitious autonomous transportation development.
Also...Nvidia introduced its aim of developing chips...to support advanced artificial intelligence. Thus, it could give self-driving car makers the platform for smarter algorithms...Nvidia reportedly spent over $2 billion to develop the P100, the processor for Tesla packing a whopping 150 billion transistors on a single chip.

But that is for Tesla? Where do Nvidia's own self-driving cars come into play? Rishahb Jain is in the know:

In September, the company announced it would partner with...Baidu to work on self-driving A.I. The company...built test cars and was training them in parking lots and on the roads of New Jersey.
The company unveiled the Nvidia Drive PX2 A.I.-based car computing open platform at CES 2016. It runs on a single processor and supports AutoCruise functions -- highway automated driving and high-definition on...10 watts of power. To enable fully autonomous driving, multiple PX2 platforms can be used in parallel.

So what is the next step? ColdDeathLight has a suggestion:

They should be testing up here in Canada. If they can make it here then they can make anywhere.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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