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Mercedes Benz Owner Inks Deal with NVIDIA for Autonomous Taxi Plan

Autonomous vehicles require huge data processing capacity

By Umar Hassan

German automotive behemoth Daimler has inked a deal with US hardware giant NVIDIA that will see the two work together with engineering specialist Bosch to put self-driving taxis on the road, with road tests of the vehicles to start next year.

The collaboration, announced Tuesday, promises to unleash what auto industry insiders call Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy — cars that can drive themselves.

Mercedes Benz parent company Daimler will use NVIDIA DGX-2 AI supercomputers to train the deep neural nets that enable a vehicle to deliver “superhuman” levels of perception, putting two petaflops of performance to work.

100GB Per Kilometre, Per Camera

NVIDIA said: “Together, we’re tackling an enormous challenge. Pedestrians, bicyclists, traffic lights, and other vehicles make navigating congested urban streets stressful for even the best human drivers. Demand for computational horsepower in this chaotic, unstructured environment adds up fast. Just a single video camera generates 100 gigabytes of data per kilometer, according to Bosch.”

The NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation AV simulator will be used test and validate the complete software stack that will ultimately be placed inside the vehicle.

This high performance  stack includes every aspect of piloting an autonomous vehicle, from object detection through deep learning and computer vision, to map localisation and path planning.

Daimler and Bosch will be using DRIVE Pegasus, an AI platform that runs at 320 TOPS (trillions of operations per second) for the project, whilst having the ability to run several deep neural networks at the same time. NVIDIA have said in a blog post that Pegasus is “architectured for safety, as well as performance”.

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It also added that it uses two Xavier system-on-a-chips and GPUs, designed for AI and vision processing.

The NVIDIA contract is the latest step for Bosch and Daimler, which in April 2017 announced announced a joint AV plan, with the stated aim of ramping up for mass production of fully autonomous vehicles by  the beginning of the next decade.

Bosch and Daimler are working together in the greater Stuttgart area and in Silicon Valley, with co-located personnel.

ECU network to be Integrated into Battery cells’ Cooling Circuit.

The high computing capacity and the huge number of operations to be performed mean that the ECU network needs to be cooled.

Bosch and Daimler say that they have developed an efficient concept based on liquid cooling, which will seem them integrate the ECU network into the battery cells’ advanced cooling circuit.

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