NVIDIA And Baidu Form AI Alliance To Power Self Driving Cars And Cloud GPU Computing

Jen Hsun Huang
NVIDIA is flexing its GPU muscle in the artificial intelligence and deep learning market thanks to a partnership with Chinese search giant Baidu. You can think of Baidu as the Chinese equivalent to Google’s dominance of the U.S. search and internet advertising market.

Thanks to the partnership, NVIDIA is hoping to spread its hardware in three key areas. First off, NVIDIA’s next generation Volta-based GPU architecture to provide a robust deep learning platform for the Baidu Cloud. Used in combination with the its PaddlePaddle deep learning framework, Baidu will make use of Tesla Volta V100 and Tesla P4 GPU accelerators.

With this potent hardware at its disposal, Baidu should expect even higher performance from its AI-based services which include real-time speech translations, search rankings, visual character recognition and image classification.

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Next, NVIDIA’s SHIELD TV internet-connected set-top platform will become even more useful to Chinese consumers thanks to the including of Baidu’s Duer OS for conversational AI capabilities. Customers will be able to use voice commands to control their SHIELD TV, making it an even more powerful companion for the smart home market.

Finally, Baidu’s nascent self-driving car initiative, Apollo, will get a boost from NVIDIA’s DRIVE PX platform, which is quickly gaining a foothold in the automotive sector. More specifically, DRIVE PX 2 hardware will be used by a number of Chinese automakers which include Changan, Chery Automobile, FAW, and Greatwall Motor.

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“Apollo is an important milestone for the automotive industry,” said Lu Qi, Baidu president and COO. “It is in essence the ‘Android’ of the autonomous driving industry, but more open and more powerful.

“As we and our partners contribute to the platform in our areas of specialty, we all gain more, with the results far greater than just our own.”

Limited trials will begin this month, while full-scale autonomous driving on highways and city roads will take place by the close of the year 2020.

“Today, we are very excited to announce a broader and deeper strategic partnership with NVIDIA,” added Lu Qi. “Baidu has benefited a lot from partnerships with top companies around the world and built up its AI platform with top notch capabilities.”

AI is becoming a big business in the cloud space, and companies like NVIDIA are poised to take advantage of the growth opportunities. AMD is also looking to embrace deep learning with its Radeon Instinct family of GPU accelerators, which are looking to challenge NVIDIA’s Tesla family. However, AMD still doesn’t have a competitive platform to counter DRIVE PX.