Published: Wed, March 28, 2018
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

Nvidia suspends self-driving tests globally

Nvidia suspends self-driving tests globally

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

"I believe as a result of what happened last week, the amount of investment into the seriousness of [autonomous vehicles] is going to go up", he said during a question-and-answer session with journalists at the company's GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, California today.

But following a fatal accident last week in which an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian while in autonomous driving mode, Nvidia is suspending its testing.

Autonomous vehicles are already on the streets and will soon be driving people around versus being tested. "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.

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The simulation platform follows Nvidia's statement that it was temporarily halting its self-driving auto tests following the fatal Uber crash last week.

One of the servers in Nvidia's new Drive Constellation Simulation System, powered by the company's GPUs, runs Nvidia-developed Drive Sim software, which simulates cameras, LIDAR, RADAR - sensors a self-driving vehicle uses to observe its physical environment.

"This tragedy is exactly why we've committed ourselves to perfecting this life-saving technology".

Nvidia announced in January that Uber had selected Nvidia technology to power its self-driving auto AI, though Nvidia computing tech was already present in Uber's first fleet of Volvo XC90 SUVs. We are temporarily suspending the testing of our self-driving cars on public roads to learn from the Uber incident. "Our global fleet of manually driven data collection vehicles continue to operate".

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The system is based on two servers with one simulating the vehicle's sensors and the other the vehicle's software that processes the simulation data.

To no surprise, the simulation is powered by NVIDIA GPUs. "See the latest breakthroughs in self-driving cars, smart cities, healthcare, big data, high performance computing, virtual reality and more", writes the firm.

"Deploying production self-driving cars requires a solution for testing and validating on billions of driving miles to achieve the safety and reliability needed for customers", said Rob Csongor, vice president and general manager of Automotive at NVIDIA.

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