Nvidia and Mercedes to roll out software-defined autonomous vehicles by 2024

Vehicles will receive over-the-air software updates to ensure they are equipped with the latest autonomous features.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor
Image: Mercedes-Benz

Car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz and chipmaker Nvidia have partnered to build a software-defined computing infrastructure and system that enables vehicles to receive over-the-air software updates to ensure they are equipped with the latest autonomous features.

"Together, we're going to revolutionise the car ownership experience, making the vehicle software programmable and continuously upgradeable via over the air updates," Nvidia CEO and founder Jensen Huang said.

The pair will build the software-defined architecture based on Nvidia's Drive AGX Orin system-on-chip (SoC) platform, and it will be a standard feature in the next fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles from 2024.

"This new platform will become an efficient, centralised, and software-defined system in our future Mercedes-Benz vehicles," said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz.

"Nvidia's AI computing architecture will help us streamline our journey towards autonomous driving. These new capabilities and upgrades will be downloaded from the cloud, improving safety, increasing value, and extending the joy of ownership for all Mercedes-Benz customers."

Nvidia's Orin SoC platform is based on its recently announced supercomputing architecture. The Nvidia Drive platform features a software stack featuring automated driving AI applications, including DriveWorks, Perception, Mapping, and Planning.

The pair said the new system would enable level two and three driving autonomy, as well as automated parking functions of up to level four. This would mean, according to the two companies, vehicles would have the ability to "automate driving of regular routes from address to address".

Customers will also be able to purchase and add software applications and subscriptions through the over-the-air software updates, the companies said, assuring that the new system would have a "total focus on safety".

"Every future Mercedes-Benz with the Nvidia Drive system will come with a team of expert AI and software engineers continuously developing, refining and enhancing the car over its lifetime," Huang said.

During the company's debut of its Drive AGX Orin platform at the end of last year, Nvidia announced that Didi Chuxing had plans to use Nvidia GPUs and AI technology to develop autonomous driving and cloud computing solutions. 

The company plans to use GPUs in the data centre to train machine learning algorithms, as well as the Nvidia Drive platform for inference on level four autonomous vehicles. 

DiDi will also be deploying Nvidia AI in the DiDi Cloud, using Nvidia technology for internal use cases, such as traffic and monitoring applications. The company is also launching virtual GPU cloud servers for cloud rendering, computing and gaming. 

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