i3 - March/April 2017 - 21

We can now
use technology
to teach a car
how to drive just
by watching
us, observing us
and learning
from us.

FROM LEFT: COURTESY AUDI; DAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

- NVIDIA Co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang

safe to traverse. "We can use technology
to teach a car how to drive just by
watching us, observing us and learning
from us," Huang said.
He introduced Xavier, NVIDIA's newest
"AI car supercomputer," composed of an
eight-core 64-bit ARM central processing
unit (CPU) and a 512-core Volta GPU
that runs a new operating system named
DriveWorks. "Incredibly powerful,"
Xavier fuses data it receives from multiple
sensors and controllers in and around the
vehicle, as well as navigation information
from highly detailed HD maps and

updates from the cloud to let the car alone
"perceive, mobilize, reason and drive."
Of course, there will be situations that
could cause even a fully-self-driving car
to be confused, in which case a human
would need to take back control, Huang
conceded. So, "we believe the car should
also be an AI copilot," he added, and
introduced a Xavier-based feature named
AI Co-Pilot. It leverages cameras outside
the vehicle and speakers and microphones
inside the vehicle to constantly monitor the
surrounding environment, the driver and
the passengers - and to respond appropriately. For example, the AI Co-Pilot could
read the driver's lips and determine what
he or she said as a command (when the
environment in the cabin is too noisy for
voice commands to work), or it could see
that the driver's gaze is looking away from
a road hazard such as a bicyclist in the
vehicle's path (and verbally warn him or
her). Tapping into the on-board navigation
system, AI Co-Pilot could proactively open
a driveway gate just-in-time because it
knows minutes before that the vehicle is
approaching it, Huang suggested.
Building this advanced car technology
is "the most complex computing problem
that we've ever tackled," Huang said.
"This is high-performance computing
done in real-time, and the AI algorithms
that we're developing are all first of their

kind." Two of the largest tier-one suppliers
to the automotive industry - Bosch and
ZF - have teamed with NVIDIA to build
Xavier AI car supercomputers, and ZF
will have them available to automakers
starting this year.
Audi will be the first automaker to
produce a fully self-driving "AI car"
integrating NVIDIA's technology. Scott
Keogh, Audi of America's president, joined
Huang to announce that it will launch
by 2020. Meanwhile, at CES, Audi gave
rides in a Q7 SUV demonstration vehicle
that Keogh said was trained to navigate
the closed course in only four days, using
deep learning and AI.
Huang's keynote set the scene for
other companies to introduce and
demonstrate their own self-driving
car technologies at CES.

Nissan at CES 2017
Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn
gave a keynote in which he introduced
the automaker's Seamless Autonomous
Mobility (SAM) system. It, too, blends
AI and deep learning technologies to teach
a self-driving vehicle how to drive, but
adds a human element: assistance from
people, called Mobility Managers, who
can remotely instruct the vehicle how to
deal with a driving disruption (such as
an obstacle in the road) on the spot - by
sending the vehicle a path to follow
in real-time. (The Mobility Manager can
remotely view the vehicle's camera and
sensor data to assess the situation.)
In turn, SAM communicates the guidance
to other self-driving vehicles nearby so
that they can learn to navigate past the
obstacle without human guidance.
SAM is based on software developed
by NASA to visualize, supervise and
remotely guide interplanetary robots.
Nissan envisions it helping other automakers' self-driving vehicles, as well.
"Our goal is to change the transportation infrastructure," said Maarten
Sierhuis, former NASA scientist and
director of the Nissan Research Center
in Silicon Valley, who also spoke at the
Nissan keynote. "We want to reduce
fatalities and ease congestion. We need
a huge number of vehicles out there.
What we are doing at Nissan is finding
MARCH/APRIL 2017

21


http://www.bosch.com http://www.audi.com http://www.nissan.com

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