NVIDIA announces DRIVE AGX Orin: Advanced software-defined platform for automated cars

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NVIDIA announced its latest highly advanced software platform called DRIVE AGX Orin on December 12, 2019, at Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference in Suzhou, China. This will introduce a range of configurations based on a single architecture, targeting automakers’ 2022 production timelines.

NVIDIA made revolutionary changes in the gaming and graphics technology with their engineering and now the company seems to be focusing on the advanced software programming along with the AI technology to expand their market.

DRIVE AGX Orin was developed as a software-defined platform to enable architecturally compatible platforms that scale from a Level 2 to full self-driving Level 5 vehicle. It can also enable OEMs to develop large-scale and complex families of software products.

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Moreover, the platform is powered by a new system-on-a-chip (SoC) called Orin and consists of 17 billion transistors and is the result of four years of R&D investment. The SoC combines NVIDIA’s next-generation GPU architecture and Arm Hercules CPU cores, as well as new deep learning and computer vision accelerators. All of them together deliver 200 trillion operations per second – nearly 7x the performance of NVIDIA’s previous generation Xavier SoC.  

Unlike other competitors, the Orin can achieve systematic safety standards such as ISO 26262 ASIL-D which is quite impressive. It is designed to handle a large number of applications and deep neural networks that run simultaneously in autonomous vehicles and robots.   

NVIDIA claims that both Orin and Xavier are programmable through open CUDA and TensorRT APIs and libraries. Therefore the developers can leverage their investments across multiple product generations. It was even reported that the platform is already being used by a Chinese mobile transportation company Didi Chuxing Technology CO. The company offers similar services like those of Uber Technologies Inc. and develops its own autonomous driving capabilities.

Jensen Huang, the founder, and CEO of NVIDIA said:

“Creating a safe autonomous vehicle is perhaps society’s greatest computing challenge. The amount of investment required to deliver autonomous vehicles has grown exponentially, and the complexity of the task requires a scalable, programmable, software-defined AI platform like Orin”.

In Sam Abuelsamid’s (Principal research analyst at Navigant Research) words:

“NVIDIA’s long-term commitment to the transportation industry, along with its innovative end-to-end platform and tools, has resulted in a vast ecosystem – virtually every company working on AVs is utilizing NVIDIA in its compute stack. Orin looks to be a significant step forward that should help enable the next great chapter in this ever-improving technology story”.

In addition to the DRIVE AGX Origin, NVIDIA also announced the open-sourcing of a suite of AI models for autonomous decision-making and visual perception at the conference.

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