Nvidia influences autonomous cars

IT is no longer its own segregated industry. With digital developments now reaching all parts of society, IT has now also begun to blend in with other sectors. 

This was originally observed in the automotive world when GPS and infotainment systems became a luxury - and then a necessity - for modern vehicles. Now, a whole new trend is prompting a wave of tech companies to venture into this industry, with self-driving cars opening the doors for these companies wishing to make a difference. 

So which organisations should fleet managers look out for?

Nvidia - from virtual cars to the real deal

Gamers will be well aware of the Nvidia brand name, with the company well known for its graphics cards seen in computers all over the world. In recent years, Nvidia has provided processors to a range of automotive companies, but it now believes it can take its services to a whole new level. 

Nvidia recently announced its Drive PX development platform, a tool that will allow cars to drive themselves. The company is offering the technology to vehicle manufacturers around the world, and is the describing it as a "neural network" for cars - much more than just a another computer. 

Drive PX compiles the best of Nvidia's in-house technology to create unprecedented performance. The platform features two of the firm's Tegra X1 processors, resulting in 2.3 teraflops of performance.

Thankfully, Nvidia's Senior Director of Automotive Danny Shapiro gave the numbers some context in a recent update. 

"That's enough to weave together data streaming in from 12 camera inputs and enable a wide range of advanced driver assistance features to run simultaneously - including surround view, collision avoidance, pedestrian detection, mirror-less operation, cross-traffic monitoring and driver-state monitoring," he said. 

On top of this, vehicles possessing Nvidia's chips will have the ability to learn from driver behaviours over time, while being updated over the air like a smartphone. If it can learn to conserve fuel and avoid traffic, it could drastically change the face of the transport industry. 

What other tech companies are joining in?

As autonomous cars are heavily dependent on the tech making the decisions for them, some companies have decided that these new trends signal a good time to make a switch into the industry. 

The most notable example is Google, with the search engine giant sending its prototypes out on the road in the US. While a production model isn't ready yet, the company appears to be committed to the cause. 

Other rumours involved Apple, despite no official word from the company itself. With its penchant for innovation, could we see the company supply its own contender in the future?