Toyota is tapping NVIDIA to deliver the necessary artificial intelligence hardware that will power the automaker's autonomous driving systems. In doing so, Toyota joins a growing and impressive list of automotive partners that have teamed up with NVIDIA to push the autonomous vehicle category forward, a category that Toyota has spent more than two decades researching and developing.
The Japanese automaker will use NVIDIA's Drive PX computer platform to power advanced autonomous driving systems that will be introduced in future vehicles. It is a joint collaboration in which engineering teams from both companies have already started developing software on NVIDIA's AI platform.
"Toyota has worked on autonomous driving technologies for over 20 years with the aim of reducing traffic fatalities to zero as an ultimate goal, achieving smoother traffic, and providing mobility for all," said Ken Koibuchi, executive general manager at Toyota. "Through this collaboration, we intend to accelerate the development of autonomous driving systems that are even more safe and capable."
It takes a supercomputing effort to power an autonomous vehicle and that is what Toyota is getting from NVIDIA. At the heart of NVIDIA's Drive PX platform is a new Xavier processor capable of delivering 30 trillion deep learning operations per second. The high level of data crunching is necessary in order to process and interpret all the data that gets collected from numerous sensors on autonomous vehicles, including onboard cameras, lidar, and radar.
Nabbing Toyota is a major deal for NVIDIA. It lends further credibility to the company's Drive PX platform, which Tesla implemented into all of its autonomous vehicles since last year. Earlier this year, German automaker Audi announced plans to implement NVIDIA's Drive PX platform in its fleet of autonomous vehicles that it hopes to have on the road by 2020. Presumably Toyota is looking at the same general time frame.