NVIDIA made a self-driving car with its Xavier supercomputer

The company's AI platform learns to drive by observing humans.

At NVIDIA's CES 2017 keynote address, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced his company's plan to turn your car into "your most personal robot." Specifically, NVIDIA announced the company's AI car supercomputer, the Xavier -- an auto-grade, 512-core Volta GPU and AI platform that's capable of learning how to drive by watching a human driver. To show it off for the CES crowd, Nvidia installed the system in an autonomous Lincoln called BB8 and let it loose on the streets of Silicon Valley.

What sets NVIDIA's Star Wars-inspired vehicle apart is that its DRIVE PX 2 system learns on its own through observation and deep learning, backed up with HD map data in the cloud. According to Huang, this lets the vehicle figure out how to adapt to constantly changing real-world conditions or learn tricky situations like how to navigate down a narrow, overgrown driveway. For now, though, the system can also drive an NVIDIA engineer to Starbucks:

Nvidia has actually been testing the system in several different versions of its self-driving vehicles, but Xavier is the latest, most powerful evolution of the company's DRIVE PX 2 supercomputer and it's the platform Nvidia expects to use in future applications. In addition to the autonomous supercomputer, Nvidia also announced a backseat driver that can keep an eye on your driving and a partnership with Audi that will put vehicles with Level 4 autonomy on the road by 2020.

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