Robotaxis on the way

No steering wheels, pedals or mirrors. Sounds like science fiction but the fully autonomous robotaxi is on its way with the launch of a new system that NVIDIA has codenamed Pegasus.

Pegasus extends the NVIDIA Drive PX AI computing platform to handle Level 5 driverless vehicles. NVIDIA DRIVE PX Pegasus delivers over 320 trillion operations per second — more than 10 times the performance of its predecessor, NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2, announced Jensen Huang, Founder and CEO of NVIDIA at his keynote address at GTC Europe in Munich.

Robotaxis powered by NVIDIA DRIVE PX Pegasus will have interiors that feel like a living room and arrive on demand to safely whisk passengers to their destinations, bringing mobility to everyone, including the elderly and disabled.

Millions of hours of lost time will be recaptured by drivers as they work, play, eat or sleep on their daily commutes. And countless lives will be saved by vehicles that are never fatigued, impaired or distracted — increasing road safety, reducing congestion and freeing up valuable land currently used for parking lots.

Of the 225 partners developing on the NVIDIA DRIVE PX platform, more than 25 are developing fully autonomous robotaxis using NVIDIA CUDA GPUs. Today, their trunks resemble small data centres, loaded with racks of computers with server-class NVIDIA GPUs running deep learning, computer vision and parallel computing algorithms. Their size, power demands and cost make them impractical for production vehicles.

The computational requirements of robotaxis are enormous — perceiving the world through high-resolution, 360-degree surround cameras and lidars, localising the vehicle within centimeter accuracy, tracking vehicles and people around the car, and planning a safe and comfortable path to the destination. All this processing must be done with multiple levels of redundancy to ensure the highest level of safety. The computing demands of driverless vehicles are easily 50 to 100 times more intensive than the most advanced cars today.

“Creating a fully self-driving car is one of society’s most important endeavors — and one of the most challenging to deliver. The breakthrough AI computing performance and efficiency of Pegasus is crucial for the industry to realise this vision,” said  Huang.

“Driverless cars will enable new ride- and car-sharing services. New types of cars will be invented, resembling offices, living rooms or hotel rooms on wheels. Travelers will simply order up the type of vehicle they want based on their destination and activities planned along the way. The future of society will be reshaped,” he said.

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