Automakers and software developers are eager to develop self-driving cars, but autonomous cars need powerful computers to process massive amounts of data. Nvidia revealed the Drive PX Pegasus automated driving platform at the GPU Technology Conference in Munich. This keeps Nvidia in play with startups that want to leapfrog established automakers and pioneer a Level 5 autonomous car—that’s right, no steering wheel, no brake pedal, no driver.
Established automakers and tech companies are working on Level 3 autonomous cars with an eye on fully autonomous cars, but Level 3 vehicles need a steering wheel and human driver that can take over the car. Luxury carmakers and Tesla are working on top-of-the-line driving aids that approach Level 3 autonomy. But the holy grail of self-driving vehicles is Level 5 with no need for a real person behind the wheel. Nvidia are developing the computer platform that can handle the sensors and artificial intelligence that will make Level 5 a reality.
The Drive PX Pegasus replaces the Drive PX 2. The new platform can process 320 trillion operations per second, compared with just 30 trillion operations on the previous version. Nvidia says that Pegasus has enough power for Level 5 autonomy and startups like NuTonomy and Zoox shooting straight for Level 5 are eager to work on the system and develop the first generation of robot cars—by 2021, anyways.