On Tuesday, the second biggest truck manufacturer, Volvo announced its long-term partnership with Nvidia (NVDA). This partnership between Sweden based AB Volvo and Nvidia Corp. would focus on developing an AI for the automatic self-drive trucks, much inspired by Tesla’s chipmaker that was dropped last year. Tesla used to buy the chips from Nvidia but, they had moved to develop its own chip.
After launching Vera – cabin-less autonomous truck- Volvo is now looking into developing self-driving systems which would safely handle autonomous driving among the public.
Win-Win For Both
Although the financial aspects of the deal still remain hidden, it was announced that the work would begin in both Santa Clara, California and Gothenburg, Sweden immediately. There would be flexibility around the deal, and the product obtained would be used for a pilot test followed by making it available to the public.
Nvidia, on the other hand, is one of the leading developers of AI chips and is famous for its gaming graphics chips. Now, with its foot on the automotive sector, the corporation belies that self-driving trucks are evidently the future, especially considering the regular same routes.
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While there are various start-ups competing towards autonomous automobiles, Volvo is in plans to start real operations in the winters of 2019 after the success in its pilot modes. The Volvo Trucks’ autonomous systems would be in business by transporting limestone from a mine to a port and would be paid for per tonne of limestone transported. This transportation would be done for Broennoey Kalk AS of Norway by using seven of FH16 trucks.
Lars Stenqvist, the chief officer of the Technology department of Volvo believes that even though no certain date or deadline can be given to these autonomous trucks being commercialized, the Volvo trucks built in with the Nvidia technology would start operating in areas away from the public vicinity.
Nvidia’s Increased Partnership
Nvidia had also recently entered into partnerships with other automobile companies like Volkswagen AG, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota Motor Corp. However, the partnership with Volvo is not limited to only supplying chips but also developing software, onboard computers and sensor systems for autonomous commercial vehicles.
The Drive Constellation chip of Nvidia is a chip that powers the machine learning which is helpful in refining self-drive software algorithms inside data centers. The company is currently working on building Drive chips into cars. The revenue earned through these automotive chips has been great for the company (amounting to $641 million in the recent fiscal year).
The Vera self-driving truck could transport goods from the port terminal in Gothenburg as a part of its first public operation. The partnership with Nvidia would bring in a self-drive vehicle fully incorporated with sensor processing, perception, map, and path planning.
Shares of NVDA soared 7% after the news.
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