NEW DELHI: German car maker Mercedes Benz and chipmaker Nvidia are teaming up to develop “next-generation computing platform" for automated driving. The new platform is based on the chipmaker’s new Orin system-on-chip (SoC) and the Nvidia Drive AGX software stack and will be seen in Mercedes’ vehicles from 2024.
Orin was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last year and is capable of 200 trillion operations per second. Being a system on chip, it does this without consuming as much power as a full fledged processor.
The companies will use these capabilities to deliver a variety of automated driving functions that match the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) level 2 and 3 specifications. On paper, that means something like Tesla’s Autopilot mode, but may even be more advanced.
The companies also promise SAE level 4 parking automation. That means cars using this system will, under most normal circumstances, be able to park themselves into a properly defined parking spot without human assistance.
According to SAE guidelines, cars with level 2 and 3 of automation can take over from the driver, but still require human monitoring. That means your hands have to be on the wheel even if the car is in control. Volvo’s Pilot Assist is an example of this, as is Tesla’s autopilot mode. Volvo Pilot Assist is available in cars in India.
Level 4 automation means the car can stop itself if the automated system fails and can drive between two points without human assistance. Nvidia and Mercedes are promising this level of automation for parking only.
SAE’s level 5 is the true futuristic autonomous vehicle, where all humans have to do is enter a destination. At the moment, cars with level 3 and 4 automations aren’t usually seen in the mainstream. Volvo’s Pilot Assist and Mercedes’ RADAR-based systems in some of their vehicles are the only level 3 systems you can find in India.
Much like many current cars, the system is also connected to the Internet and can be updated through over-the-air updates. This is the same way that Google and Apple update their operating systems on smartphones. Carmakers can use such systems to deliver fixes to a car’s controlling software, inform users about new things etc.