Nvidia develops virtual testing platform for self-driving cars

Nvidia looks to the AI future		An interview with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang		
		
	Matt Burns

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   	8 hours

The company, which provides technology to Uber Technologies Inc., stopped its self-driving test program on public roads in the aftermath of a March 18 fatal accident involving an Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona.

Last week, Toyota also halted its self-driving vehicle testing.

Nvidia announced it was working on the technology at last year's summit. Another open source simulator was released by Udacity, the online education platform.

Besides the benefit of safety, virtualizing the road test makes it possible to train the algorithm much faster, the company said.

"We have to train our neural network with extreme precision for autonomous driving", Huang said.

At the same time it's announcing the cessation of real-world testing, Nvidia also unveiled a new system for testing self-driving cars, one that takes place in a virtual rather than real-world environment. This simulation is all about making the autonomous vehicles safer while providing a more scalable method for bringing them to the roads.

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The technology is created to allow automakers and others to validate their technology on billions of driving miles and increase the strength of their algorithms by repeatedly testing hard scenarios, which would be impractical in the real world.

The simulation platform follows Nvidia's statement that it was temporarily halting its self-driving vehicle tests following the fatal Uber crash last week. Waymo uses simulation in addition to physical testing.

Constellation relies on two different types of server, one running Drive Sim software to simulate photorealistic data from self-driving vehicles' sensors, such as lidar and cameras.

Certain statements in this press release including, but not limited to, statements as to: the benefits, impact, performance, uses and abilities of NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation, NVIDIA DRIVE Sim software and NVIDIA DRIVE Pegasus AI; and the availability of NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause results to be materially different than expectations.

The company envisions engineers scripting "potentially hazardous scenarios without putting anyone in harm's way", Shapiro said.

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