Audi & NVIDIA partner to deliver fully automated driving with AI starting in 2020; piloted Q7 w/ neural network CES demo
5 January 2017
Audi announced a partnership with NVIDIA to use artificial intelligence in delivering highly automated vehicles starting in 2020. Deep learning technology will enable skilled handling of real-road complexities, delivering safer automated vehicles earlier. The first phase of this expanded collaboration between the nearly decade-long partners focuses on NVIDIA DRIVE PX, which uses trained AI neural networks to understand the surrounding environment, and to determine a safe path forward. (Earlier post.)
Audi and NVIDIA have combined their engineering and visual computing technologies in the past on Audi innovations such as Audi MMI navigation and the Audi virtual cockpit. Later this year Audi will introduce the next-generation Audi A8 featuring Traffic Jam Pilot—the world’s first Level 3 automated vehicle (as defined by SAE International) equipped with a first-generation central driver assistance domain controller (zFAS) that integrates NVIDIA computing hardware and software. (Earlier post.)
Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America and Jen-Hsun Huang, Founder and CEO of NVIDIA, announced their companies’ newest collaboration during the opening keynote of CES 2017.
To showcase their progress, Audi and NVIDIA developed an Audi Q7 piloted driving concept vehicle. Outfitted with a DRIVE PX 2 and running NVIDIA DriveWorks software, the Q7 uses deep neural networks—specifically, NVIDIA PilotNet, which recognizes and understands its changing environment while driving safely.
The vehicle learns from both the road and the driver in every mile it travels and can handle unpredictable situations such as roadblocks, construction and changes in weather. This demonstration illustrates the power of end-to-end deep learning and how it will be one of many neural networks running simultaneously inside of an artificial intelligence car.
The vehicle relies on its trained AI neural networks to recognize and understand its environment, then drive safely around the track without any computer programming. With no driver behind the wheel, it performs several laps on a closed course, where the configuration of the track will be modified in the middle of the demonstration.
The course features a variety of road surfaces including areas with and without lane markings, dirt and grass, as well as a simulated construction zone with cones and dynamic detour indicators.
Audi will expand testing of highly automated, artificial intelligence-equipped vehicles on public roads in California and select states next year. As it has throughout its research of automated vehicle opportunities, Audi will maintain a spirit of transparency with state and federal regulators in the US as it conduct its artificial intelligence testing and eventual vehicle system deployment to the public.
In parallel to delivering artificial intelligence solutions for complex urban driving, Audi brings to market this year the world’s first vehicle to meet the standards of Level 3 automation as defined by SAE International.
This system will give drivers the option to turn over steering, throttle, and braking functionality to the vehicle at speeds of up to 35 mph when certain conditions are met, aiding Audi drivers during their often stressful freeway commutes.