NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang highlighted dozens of startups developing autonomous vehicle solutions using NVIDIA AI platforms in his keynote presentation today at the GPU Technology Conference in Beijing.
Autonomous vehicles require AI to navigate a nearly infinite range of possible driving scenarios. NVIDIA AI platforms offer a cloud-to-car solution, with NVIDIA DGX systems training deep neural networks in the data center, and NVIDIA DRIVE PX delivering real-time, low-latency inferencing in the vehicle to drive safely.
NVIDIA works with the world’s leading automakers, including Audi, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Tesla. But startups are equally important partners. Their innovation and ingenuity result in critical new autonomous driving solutions.
“Unbelievable investments are being made in this field, and the reason for that is simple,” said Huang. “The impact to society is great, the technology necessary to achieve autonomy is finally here, the problem is incredibly challenging — so it can sustain innovation at startups for a long time — and, most importantly, the industry is utterly massive.”
Startups in the Spotlight
Currently 145 startups — many in China — are using the DRIVE platform. Huang highlighted six organizations focused on different aspects of self-driving.
Cognata is a deep learning autonomous simulation company. Simulation is used extensively in autonomous vehicle development. By building a virtual world that behaves like the real world, companies like Cognata create a safe and flexible environment in which AI can learn. And these simulated environments can run constantly, enabling self-driving AI to train 24 hours a day, every day.
High-definition mapping is another key enabling technology for self-driving vehicles. DeepMap is a full stack HD mapping service. Their product allows a self-driving car — or a whole fleet of them — to determine the vehicle’s location and navigate safely through complex traffic scenarios.
Momenta is local startup, headquartered in Beijing, that develops software for object perception, HD mapping and path planning. By crowdsourcing driving data, Momenta leverages millions of miles of real-world driving scenarios to further train and perfect their AI driving algorithms.
One of the most secretive companies in Silicon Valley, Zoox is working on reinventing the entire mobility ecosystem. They’re building a shared, on-demand, zero-emission mobility system. When asked if they were building a car from the ground up, Zoox founder and CEO Tim Kentley-Klay told Fortune Magazine, “No, I’m saying we’re building what comes after the car.”
Companies like Navya and TuSimple also demonstrate that autonomy isn’t just for cars. Navya develops driverless and automated electric vehicles for last-mile transportation. The Navya Arma is a driverless electric shuttle that can transport up to 15 people. It’s currently operating in different locations around Europe and the U.S. TuSimple, a member of the NVIDIA GPU Ventures program, is also thinking outside the car, with a focus on self-driving trucks. The company develops technology for autonomous long-distance freight delivery, with testing underway in the U.S. and China.
The newest automotive member of the NVIDIA GPU Ventures program, JingChi, joined the list of featured startups in the keynote presentation. Founded last spring by Tony Han and Jing Wang, former leaders of the autonomous driving unit at Baidu, JingChi uses NVIDIA GPUs and NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 to develop its autonomous cars.
Among the other startups featured during GTC China are: 2GetThere, Automotive Artificial Intelligence, Arrival, Auro, AutoX, DeepMap, e.GO Mobile, EasyMile, FiveAI, Horizon Robotics, Mapillary, Nuro, nuTonomy, Optimus Ride, Oxbotica, PlusAI, Pony.ai, robotTuner, Streetscooter, TierIV, Uniti, WEpods, Xesol Innovation and Yandex Taxi.
To learn more about the role of GPUs in autonomous driving, and how AI is transforming virtually every industry, join us in Munich for GTC Europe.
Photos courtesy of DeepMap and Navya.