Bosch and NVIDIA on Thursday announced plans to co-develop self-driving systems for mass-market vehicles. The solutions will use NVIDIA’s next-generation codenamed Xavier SoC as well as the company’s AI-related IP. Meanwhile, Bosch will offer its expertise in car electronics as well as auto navigation.

Typically, automakers mention self-driving cars in the context of premium and commercial vehicles, but it is pretty obvious that, given the opportunity, self-driving is a technology that will be a part of the vast majority of cars available in the next decade and onwards. Bosch and NVIDIA are working on an autopilot platform for mass-market vehicles that will not cost as much as people think, and will be able to be widespread. To build the systems, the two companies will use NVIDIA’s upcoming Drive PX platform based on the Xavier system-on-chip, which is a next-gen Tegra processor set to be mass-produced sometimes in 2018 or 2019.

Bosch and NVIDIA did not disclose too many details about their upcoming self-driving systems, but indicated that they are talking about the Level 4 autonomous capabilities in which a car can drive on its own without any human intervention. To enable Level 4 autonomous capabilities, NVIDIA will offer its Xavier SoC featuring eight general-purpose in-house-designed custom ARMv8-A cores, a GPU based on the Volta architecture with 512 stream processors, hardware-based encoders/decoders for video streams with up to 7680×4320 resolution, and various I/O capabilities.

From performance point of view, Xavier is now expected to hit 30 Deep Learning Tera-Ops (DL TOPS) (a metric for measuring 8-bit integer operations), which is 50% higher when compared to NVIDIA’s Drive PX 2, the platform currently used by various automakers to build their autopilot systems (e.g., Tesla Motors uses the Drive PX 2 for various vehicles). NVIDIA's goal is to deliver this at 30 W, for an efficiency ratio of 1 DL TOPS-per-watt. This is a rather low level of power consumption given the fact that the chip is expected to be produced using TSMC’s 16 nm FinFET+ process technology, the same that is used to make the Tegra (Parker) SoC of the Drive PX 2.

The developers say that the next-gen Xavier-based Drive PX will be able to fuse data from multiple sensors (cameras, lidar, radar, ultrasonic, etc.) and its compute performance will be enough to run deep neural nets to sense surroundings, understand the environment, predict the behavior and position of other objects as well as ensure safety of the driver in real-time. Given the fact that the upcoming Drive PX will be more powerful than the Drive PX 2, it is clear that it will be able to better satisfy demands of automakers. In fact, since we are talking about a completely autonomous self-driving system, the more compute efficiency NVIDIA can get from its Xavier the better.

Speaking of the SoC, it is highly likely that the combination of its performance, power and the level of integration is what attracted Bosch to the platform. One chip with a moderate power consumption means that Bosch engineers will be able to design relatively compact and reasonable-priced systems for self-driving and then help automakers to integrate them into their vehicles.

Unfortunately, we do not know what car brands will use the autopilot systems co-developed by Bosch and NVIDIA. Bosch supplies auto electronics to many carmakers, including PSA, which owns Peugeot, Citroën and Opel brands. 

Neither Bosch nor NVIDIA made any indications about when they expect actual cars featuring their autopilot systems to hit the roads. But since NVIDIA plans to start sampling of its Xavier in late 2017 and then mass produce it in 2018 or 2019, it is logical to expect the first commercial applications based on the SoC to become available sometime in the 2020s, after the (extensive) validation and certification period for an automotive system.

Related Reading:

Source: NVIDIA

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Meteor2 - Sunday, March 19, 2017 - link

    ...or demonstrate intuition?
  • ddriver - Sunday, March 19, 2017 - link

    Nope they can't, not yet anyway. You don't really understand the subject and its implications. Those are sensationalist titles intended to impress simpletons. And it evidently works.

    It ain't no different than that hack Kaku talking about "quantum teleportation" in the context of actual, star-trek like teleportation. It is almost as if that over-hyped celebrity scientist doesn't know what he is talking about. The teleportation he talks about is as much teleportation as the fax machine, which we've had for so long that today it is pretty much obsolete ancient tech.

    Unlike you, I do understand the actual science, therefore I can easily determine that the mainstream presentation of science is PURE, 100% BS. It is nonetheless astonishing how easy it is to impress and convince simpletons that they are smart and progressing people by simply feeding them BS. It is no different than new age or pseudo / alternative science, or any of those groups of nutjobs.
  • Meteor2 - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    First off, because of your tone, I've put you in the category of 'commenters who I automatically skip'. I may not be alone in that; presumably you're here because you want your comments to be read. Consider that.

    Second, I do not claim to understand the science. If I did, I'd be in a very select group, and working for Google. So excuse me if I dismiss your claims, which don't seem to amount to anything more than insults really.
  • Yojimbo - Saturday, March 18, 2017 - link

    Those hurdles are the sort of things ethicists and philosophers think about because that's their job and their delight. But in actuality the world is a Darwinian place. People's morality and ethical comfort will adjust with what is necessary and productive. You can make demands like "Aslong as the question isn't answered to the extend that it can be signed into law which life is worth less in that case and what option the car should take, aslong such automated systems don't belong on our roads. Such decisions have to be made by humans and not by machines." But as soon as China, for example, allows the adoption of artificial intelligence throughout their society and in doing so increases their productivity significantly it will reduce European competitiveness, reducing European wealth and increasing European poverty in turn. At that time no one is going to care about some philosophical question, and the (justified) fear of that situation materializing will cause people to be willing to face and accept those ethical dilemmas.

    Besides, if one wishes to consider the philosophical dilemma you proposed one must also consider the ensuing one: If self-driving cars are statistically much safer and will save over 20,000 lives a year in Europe is it ethical to block the saving of those lives on the basis of such a philosophical hurdle as you proposed?
  • shabby - Sunday, March 19, 2017 - link

    The answer is simple, the people not doing anything wrong should live, the child strolled onto the street by choice and therefore should suffer any and all consequences.
    Just because you saw this stupid scenario posted somewhere else doesn't mean you should bring it up again.
  • versesuvius - Sunday, March 19, 2017 - link

    Self driving cars! The most stupid idea ever!!
  • Yojimbo - Sunday, March 19, 2017 - link

    Worse than shoulder pads in women's clothing?
  • versesuvius - Monday, March 20, 2017 - link

    Of course!
  • dealcorn - Sunday, March 19, 2017 - link

    The goal is not to replicate human decision making processes. The goal is that autonomous vehicles should be safer than human drivers. That is low bar in that machines usually do not get drunk or do drugs. Also, faster than human reflexes are likely.
  • versesuvius - Sunday, March 19, 2017 - link


Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now