Could Nvidia’s Thor chip rule automotive AI?

by | Sep 20, 2022 | Technology

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As cars get increasingly smarter and self-driving autonomous vehicles continue to be developed there is an obvious need for more computing power. Maybe even the power of a Norse god of thunder.

At the Nvidia GTC conference today, the company announced its new DRIVE Thor platform for automotive. DRIVE Thor is intended to provide a platform that can support self-driving capabilities, vehicle operations such as parking assist, as well as in-vehicle entertainment. The system benefits from the Nvidia Grace CPU and GPU capabilities that come from Hopper architecture. The DRIVE Thor platform replaces the Atlan system that was announced in April 2021. Nvidia expects that the new DRIVE Thor technology will begin to show up in automakers 2025 vehicle models.

“Autonomous vehicles are one of the most complex computing challenges of our time,” Danny Shapiro, vice president of automotive at Nvidia, said during a press briefing. “To achieve the highest possible level of safety, we need diverse and redundant sensors and algorithms, which require massive compute.”

Why use multiple computers when you can use one?

Shapiro explained that modern vehicles use a wide array of computers, distributed throughout the vehicle.

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For example, many cars today have advanced driver assistance systems, with parking assist, various monitoring cameras and multiple digital instrument clusters, alongside some form of entertainment system.

“In 2025, these functions will no longer be separate computers,” Shapiro said. “Drive Thor will enable manufacturers to efficiently consolidate these functions into a single system, reducing overall system costs.”

The goal with Drive Thor is to provide automakers with the compute headroom and flexibility to build softwa …

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