Nvidia has been providing graphic interface computers to Tesla Motors since the first Model S rolled off the assembly line in 2012. It was Nvidia that made the enormous 17″ touchscreen in the Model S possible. Now it is continuing its relationship with Tesla by supplying what it calls “a supercomputer in a box” to provide the computing power needed for full Level 5 autonomous driving in the future.
Nvidia’s lastest device is called the Drive PX 2 and it is 40 times more powerful than the unit it replaces. Equipped with a neural network that makes deep learning possible, the company says it has the computing power of 150 Macbook Pro’s. Its job is to take in all the data fed to it by Tesla’s 8 cameras, 12 upgraded ultrasonic sensors, and a forward looking radar device and assemble it into an accurate graphic representation of the environment around the car it is installed in out to a distance of 250 feet. The Drive PX 2 is liquid cooled to keep its artificial brain from overheating.
According to Nvidia, the machine is “the size of a lunch box.” It has two Tegra processors with a total of 12 processor cores and two Pascal GPUs which together can perform 24 trillion operations per second. The Drive PX 2 creates a complete digital representation of the outside world at the rate of 2,800 frames per second.
Just a few weeks ago, Nvidia released a video of a converted Lincoln sedan teaching itself how to drive using a neural network. Many other companies like Google are relying on high resolution digital maps to allow cars to drive themselves, but that assumes such a map is available for every mile of road in the world.