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Nvidia Declines After Suspending Self-Driving Car Testing

28 March 2018

The move to pause the tests comes one week after a self-driving Uber auto, which incorporates Nvidia technology in its self-driving vehicles, struck and killed a woman in Arizona.

Nvidia suggested that the accident was a reminder of the challenges facing the development of self-driving technology, and has reaffirmed the company's approach of "extreme caution" and "the best safety technologies". "DRIVE Constellation for virtually testing and validating will bring us a step closer to the production of self-driving cars".

The chipmaker is testing self-driving technology globally including in New Jersey, Santa Clara, Japan and Germany. "Our global fleet of manually driven data collection vehicles continue to operate". The on-demand vehicle pooling company is just one of many tech giants that uses Nvidia's computing platform to power its fleet of self-driving cars.

The system runs on two servers.

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The simulation server is powered by NVIDIA GPUs, each one generating a stream of simulated sensor data, which then feeds into the DRIVE Pegasus for processing. The second contains a powerful NVIDIA DRIVE Pegasus™ AI auto computer that runs the complete autonomous vehicle software stack and processes the simulated data as if it were coming from the sensors of a auto driving on the road. For example, Intel Labs, together with the Toyota Research Institute and the Computer Vision Center in Barcelona, designed an open source driving simulator for training self-driving cars called CARLA (Car Learning to Act).

"We're able to deploy this in the cloud and scale it up to generate billions of miles that ultimately will be able to showcase and statistically show how ... these self-driving algorithms" perform, Danny Shapiro, Nvidia's senior director, automotive, said in a phone briefing with reporters.

It's not yet clear to what degree Nvidia will rely on virtual testing versus real-world testing once its public driving tests resume.

Nvidia announced it was working on the technology at last year's summit.

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Less than 10 days ago, an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking outside of a crosswalk in Tempe, Arizona.

Last week, Uber suspended North American tests of its self-driving vehicles after one of its self-driving cars killed a woman in Arizona.

Testing may not involve putting self-driving cars on public streets, with all the safety issues that entails, but virtual environments aren't real ones, no matter how authentic the simulations seem.

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Nvidia Declines After Suspending Self-Driving Car Testing