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Nvidia’s New Driverless-Car Computer Crunches 320 Trillion Operations a Second

October 10, 2017

That’s enough to have a car drive fully autonomously, according to the chipmaker. The new device, announced by Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang at an event today in Munich, is the latest generation of its DrivePX on-board car computers. Called Pegasus, the device is 13 times faster than the previous iteration, which has so far been used by the likes of Audi, Tesla, and Volvo to provide semi-autonomous driving capabilities in their vehicles.

“In the old world, the more powerful your engine, the smoother your ride will be,” Huang said during the announcement. “In the future, the more computational performance you have, the smoother your ride will be.” And with this new piece of hardware, he’s certainly trying his best to provide it.

Nvidia, which is one of our 50 Smartest Companies of 2017, says that the device is only about the size of a license plate. But it has enough power to process data from up to 16 sensors, detect objects, find the car’s place in the world, plan a path, and control the vehicles itself. Oh, and it will also update centrally stored high-definition maps at the same time—all with some resources to spare.

It’s worth noting that Nvidia isn’t the only horse in this race. Intel recently announced that it provides all the computing power inside Waymo’s autonomous cars, though it’s been less forthcoming about the details of its hardware performance.

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