CES 2019: Nvidia expands into more mainstream automotive market

Nvidia's driver-assistance system, Drive Autopilot, is a step above existing Level 2 systems.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Nvidia on Monday announced the Nvidia Drive Autopilot, a driver-assistance system that Nvidia characterizes as "Level 2 Plus" -- a step above the Level 2 systems on the market today.

Most of the buzz around Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) focuses on higher levels of autonomy. Level 2 vehicles have some automated functions, but the driver must remain engaged at all times. Level 5 vehicles, by comparison, are fully automated.

Nvidia's automotive SOCs are built to handle Level 5 autonomy, but the new system is part of Nvidia's effort to expand its reach in the market, Danny Shapiro, Nvidia's senior director for Automotive, told reporters.

Nvidia is "for the first time pushing down into more mainstream driver systems," he said.

Drive AutoPilot integrates Nvidia's Xavier SoC processors with the latest Nvidia Drive software to process data from outside the vehicle and inside the cabin. That enables it to improve upon existing Level 2 systems in several ways, Shapiro said.

The Level 2 systems on the market today use a single camera with 3 lenses, a simple ADAS controller, and offer basic functionality like lane-keep assistance and adaptive cruise control. By comparison, Drive Autopilot leverages data from multiple cameras and assists with things like lane changing, personal mapping, and driver monitoring. Additionally, unlike current systems, it's built on an open platform with full over-the-air updating capabilities.


At CES 2019, automotive suppliers Continental and ZF announced they'll begin production on vehicles with Drive Autopilot systems in 2020. Meanwhile, a few months ago, Volvo announced that all of its new cars will feature the Xavier-based system.

A number of other chipmakers, technology companies and automotive OEMs are also showcasing their new alliances at this year's CES. Ford is using the conference to demo its Qualcomm-powered cellular V2X technology. Qualcomm is also demonstrating how the Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform provides the basis for in-vehicle Amazon Alexa interactions

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