Volvo and Nvidia are teaming up to make self-driving commercial vehicles.
You don’t normally think of a company like Nvidia as one with an interest in vehicle technology, but the famous gaming chipmaker is actually knee deep in that autonomous vehicle business. Their Nvidia Drive platform is already being used to test fully autonomous sleds that can later be used as the basis for things like self-driving busses, garbage trucks, semi haulers, and more.
And Volvo wants in. The two companies announced a partnership yesterday that will see them co-create a new vehicle platform called DRIVE AGX that will power everything from industrial freight to public transportation.
Drive AGX uses Nvidia’s patented Drive AV software that creates a full, 360-degree image of the surrounding area and combines that with local maps to ensure the vehicle gets from point A to point B without any human input.
"The resulting system is designed to safely handle fully autonomous driving on public roads and highways," Volvo said in a statement.
“Our two industries have been separate since their founding,” added Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. “Today we announced one partnership to develop the future together. For the first time, we can imagine supplying AI for something that wasn’t possible before, the automation of transportation.”
Commercial delivery seems to be the primary focus of the new venture. Delivery from distribution centers to individual homes, known in the logistics business as “the last mile”, is set to become the biggest application of autonomous vehicles with 35 million packages delivered per day in the US.
Volvo also has its own pilot project underway in Sweden. Called Vera, it’s a combination sled and semi truck that transports goods from a logistics center to a port terminal in Gothenburg. If all goes well, Vera will eventually find its way to public roads.
There’s still no timeframe on when DRIVE AGX might arrive, but Volvo and Nvidia are two of the leading companies in autonomous vehicle technology, so don’t expect it to take very long to see results.