Two more big names have signed up to use Nvidia Corp.’s (NVDA) artificial intelligence (AI) chips to develop cars that are capable of driving themselves.
At the CES consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas, the chipmaker’s CEO Jensen Huang announced that ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc. and German auto giant Volkswagen AG (VLKAY) have been added to the company’s growing list of customers. Huang added that 320 firms focused on bringing self-driving vehicles to roads now use Nvidia Drive, a series of computers aimed at providing autonomous car and driver assistance functionality.
Uber plans to use Nvidia’s processors and software for its forthcoming fleet of self-driving vehicles. The ride-hailing company has been experimenting with Nvidia’s graphic processing unit technology since 2016 and, according to Huang, continues to make good progress, despite facing damaging allegations that it stole trade secrets from Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) Waymo.
Volkswagen is also set to use Nvidia’s AI technology in its future vehicle launches. The German automaker’s interest in the technology stems from its ability to provide an intelligent co-pilot system capable of monitoring driving performance and stopping vehicles from colliding with obstacles. Features include the ability for self-driving technology to kick in when it recognizes that a drive is drowsy or distracted.
During the technology conference, Huang added that Nvidia is collaborating with Silicon Valley startup Aurora to build a new self-driving hardware platform using its new Xavier processor. The Xavier chip, which delivers 30 trillion operations per second using 30 watts of power, is set to start being delivered to customers this quarter. (See also: Nvidia's Stock Faces Its Moment of Truth.)
Nvidia’s latest partnerships with Uber and Volkswagen have strengthened the company’s status as a market leader in the fast-growing self-driving car space. Confidence that the chipmaker can outdo rivals Intel Corp. (INTC) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) has seen Nvidia’s share price more than double over the past 12 months. (See also: Qualcomm Gets Permit to Test Self-Driving Cars.)