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Nvidia partners with Mercedes-Benz to develop new automotive AI platform

The Mercedes-Benz of the future could be controlled by an onboard Nvidia supercomputer

Riyad Emeran
10 Jan 2019
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Modern automobiles are very complex things. Even though the vast majority of cars are still powered by internal combustion engines, they also boast a myriad of electronic and computerised systems that control everything from the electric windows and central locking, to the air conditioning and anti-lock braking.

For the most part all those systems are completely independent of each other, all controlled by different electronic control units, some of which may talk to others, while others will essentially exist in a relative vacuum. The disparate nature of this solution also severely limits the upgrade potential of any of the systems within a car.

Now Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz have teamed up in an effort to change the way electronic systems work in cars; replacing all those disparate systems with a powerful computer platform that’s flexible and intelligent enough to run everything as software applications.

Nvidia is already powering Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX cockpit system, so this latest partnership is expanding the remit of Nvidia’s solution to the entire car. And since Nvidia’s Drive AGX platform is basically a high performance computer capable of complex AI functionality, the impact it can have on the next generation of Mercedes-Benz cars will undoubtedly be significant.

Nvidia is already a leader in automotive AI, with the latest Drive AGX platform forming the basis of the autonomous driving play for many auto manufacturers, one of which is obviously Mercedes-Benz. But with that cutting edge AI in the mix, Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia won’t just be able to centralise the control of all the car’s systems in an intelligent way, it will be able to create whole new systems and features; features that can even learn over time, with a deep understanding of who is driving the car, and what their habits and routines might be.

There’s a lot of buzz around autonomous driving here at CES, and everyone is looking to get Level 3 autonomy out into the market, but Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz’s decision to explore and develop a wider remit for that AI compute power is a smart move, but that’s not to say that next level autonomous driving isn’t in the mix, too; of course it is.

2019 is undoubtedly going to be a big year for smart and semi-autonomous cars, and we’ll be seeing more high profile collaborations between established technology and automotive companies. It’s a safe bet, though, that Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz will be building something worth seeing, experiencing and driving; or perhaps not driving at all.

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