NVIDIA Gets the Go-Ahead to Start Testing Autonomous Vehicles in California

nvidiaIt has been a while since we have heard anything about the self-driving (autonomous) car projects at Apple and Google but these are not the only two technology companies leading the charge. Sure, it may be no surprise that Tesla Motors, Volkswagen, Ford, GM, and Mercedes-Benz are all testing these machines right now, in California, but one—perhaps unexpected—company has entered the fray, too.

Graphic processor chip maker NVIDIA has just unveiled its new Drive PX 2 Platform, at this year’s CES.  The processing board features two impressive ARM-based Tegra SOCs along with a pair of Pascal GPUs. This actually makes it the most powerful engine in the world to combine artificial intelligence with autonomous vehicle technology.

Yes, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has granted NVIDIA a permit to begin testing of its self-driving cars on the Golden State’s public roads.

You may recall that Nvidia announced, in September, its plan to work with Chinese search giant Baldu to build a new platform allowing “the Google of China” to launch a self-driving taxi fleet.  Furthermore, this pair also appears to hope to make this system available to major car manufacturers who might opt to add this to their existing fleet (instead of, for example, trying to develop their own).

According to industry data, there could be as many as 10 million self-driving cars on the road by 2020.  Furthermore, this market could grow to roughly $6 billion with the partially autonomous vehicles growing to $36 billion within the next 10 years.  And some market analysts advise that this market could actually be worth upwards of $42 billion and then $77 billion by 2035.

Now, NVIDIA  continues to dominate its industry as the largest PC graphic processing hardware company in the world; as they have been for the past twenty or thirty years.  While this project may seem a bit of a departure for the company, this expansion does feel somewhat appropriate since the PC industry is actually in decline.