Nvidia partners with Volvo, ZF and others to expand automotive footprint

Virtually the entire auto ecosystem is developing on the Nvidia Drive PX platform and Nvidia's software stack, the company boasts.

At the Automobil Elektronik Kongress in Ludwigsburg, Germany, Nvidia is announcing a series of partnerships that expands its footprint in the automotive sector. The partnerships help demonstrate how automakers are bringing Nvidia's Drive PX computing platform out of the R&D phase of autonomous vehicle development and into production.

First, Nvidia is partnering with Volvo and Autoliv, a manufacturer of automotive safety systems, to develop advanced systems and software for self-driving cars. The companies plan to bring AI-enabled autonomous vehicles to market by 2021. The partnership also includes Zenuity, a newly-formed joint venture in automotive software development formed by Volvo and Autoliv.

Volvo Cars, Autoliv and Zenuity will collaborate to build their own advanced software based on the Drive PX platform. Using deep learning, their systems will focus on recognizing objects, anticipating potential threats and safely navigating.

Zenuity will provide the self-driving software to Volvo while Autoliv will also sell it to other automakers.

"A lot of the development work we're doing can also be leveraged by other automakers," Danny Shapiro, senior director of automotive at NVIDIA, explained to reporters. "You're starting to see in the industry these types of collaborations and the opportunity to leverage a lot of great work from Nvidia."

Meanwhile, the chipmaker also announced it's expanding its partnership with ZF, the German car parts maker, and partnering with HELLA, a tier 1 supplier of camera perception software and sensor technologies. The three companies will work together on self-driving car technology with the highest New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) safety rating for passenger cars.

Using Drive PX, the companies should be able to develop software for scalable systems that move from driver assistance to autonomous driving functionality with the help of advanced imaging and radar sensor technologies.

Earlier this year, ZF became the first supplier to adopt Nvidia AI technology for cars and commercial vehicles in the ZF ProAI box.

The new and expanded partnerships are the latest in a series of steps Nvidia has taken to expand in the automotive market. At its GTC conference earlier this year, Nvidia announced more than 225 different engagements with partners on the development of automous vehicle systems. Partners included car and truck makers, tier 1 suppliers, HD mapping companies, sensor companies and so on.

"Virtually the entire auto ecosystem is developing on Nvidia Drive PX and our software stack," Shapiro said.

Until recently, much of that work was taking place behind the scenes. Now, however, the company is able to point to partnerships with automakers like Audi, Toyota and Tesla.

"What you're seeing is people using our technology in the datacenter, in vehicles, and creating not just prototype cars but production vehicles, or making statements of production timelines," Shapiro said.

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