NVIDIA unveiled an artificial intelligence computer designed to drive fully autonomous robotaxis, called Pegasus.
Pegasus, it’s designed to enable Level 5 driverless vehicles — such as robotaxis that can operate without any human intervention — to go into production.
That’s a demanding task, Huang explained. The computational requirements of robotaxis are enormous — perceiving the world through high-resolution, 360-degree surround cameras, radars and lidars, localizing the vehicle within centimeter accuracy, tracking vehicles and people around the car, and planning a safe and comfortable path to the destination.
The new DRIVE PX Pegasus AI computer — roughly the size of a license plate — can replace the entire trunk full of computing equipment used in today’s Level 5 autonomous prototypes. Delivering 320 trillion operations per second of computing power, DRIVE PX Pegasus has the AI performance of a 100-server data center, Huang explained.
The new system, 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 10x the performance of its predecessor, NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2.
NVIDIA DRIVE PX Pegasus will help make possible a new class of vehicles that can operate without a driver — fully autonomous vehicles without steering wheels, pedals or mirrors, and interiors that feel like a living room or office. They will 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 centers, 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, localizing 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.
NVIDIA will release a software development kit — NVIDIA DRIVE IX, which stands for intelligent experience — for the company’s AI co-pilot technologies.
DRIVE IX enables AI to understand sensor data from cameras and microphones inside and outside the car to enable new capabilities, such as facial identification to unlock the car, gaze-tracking to monitor driver distraction and drowsiness, among others.
Broad Industry Support
Many carmakers, transportation as a service companies, as well as startups are using NVIDIA AI in the development of Level 5 vehicles.
NVIDIA DRIVE PX Pegasus is powered by four high-performance AI processors. It couples two of NVIDIA’s newest Xavier system-on-a-chip processors — featuring an embedded GPU based on the NVIDIA Volta architecture — with two next-generation discrete GPUs with hardware created for accelerating deep learning and computer vision algorithms. The system will provide the enormous computational capability for fully autonomous vehicles in a computer the size of a license plate, drastically reducing energy consumption and cost.
Pegasus is designed for ASIL D certification — the industry’s highest safety level — with automotive inputs/outputs, including CAN (controller area network), Flexray, 16 dedicated high-speed sensor inputs for camera, radar, lidar and ultrasonics, plus multiple 10Gbit Ethernet connectors. Its combined memory bandwidth exceeds 1 terabyte per second.
NVIDIA DRIVE PX Platform
The NVIDIA DRIVE PX platform scales from a single mobile processor configuration delivering Level 2+/Level 3 capabilities to a combination of multiple mobile processors and discrete GPUs for full Level 5. These configurations run on a single, open software architecture. This enables automakers and tier 1 suppliers to move from development into production for a wide range of self-driving solutions — from AutoCruise on the highway, to AutoChauffeur for point-to-point travel, to Pegasus for a fully autonomous vehicle.
NVIDIA DRIVE PX is part of a broad family of NVIDIA AI computing solutions. Data scientists who train their deep neural networks in the data center on the NVIDIA DGX-1™ AI supercomputer can seamlessly run on NVIDIA DRIVE PX inside the vehicle. The unified architecture enables the same NVIDIA DRIVE software algorithms, libraries and tools that run in the data center also perform inferencing in the car.
This cloud-to-car approach enables cars to receive over-the-air updates to add new features and capabilities throughout the life of a vehicle.
Pegasus will be available to NVIDIA automotive partners in the second half of 2018. NVIDIA DriveWorks software and NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 configurations are available today for developers working on autonomous vehicles and algorithms. More information is available at www.nvidia.com/drive.