At Nvidia’s GTC show today, the company announced two new systems in its in-car computing efforts, including a new product that could outfit your vehicle with an array of AI-powered screens and dashboards.
The first announcement is a new in-car infotainment system that includes graphics and visuals for drivers alongside game and movie streaming for passengers. Dubbed Drive Concierge, Nvidia says it will make driving “more enjoyable, convenient and safe.”
One of the more interesting-looking features will bring much more detail and information to the driver’s cockpit. Not only will you be able to view standard metrics such as speed, fuel range, and distance traveled, but Nvidia adds that Drive Concierge is integrated with its Drive Chauffeur system for autonomous vehicles, which will give drivers a more detailed view of the car’s “perception and planning layers.” And it can monitor drivers to ensure their attention is fully on the road when Drive Concierge features are enabled.
For passengers, Drive Concierge can stream games and movies on any in-vehicle screen. It gives users a choice of apps through which to stream titles and also ties in with Nvidia’s GeForce Now game-streaming platform.
Drive Concierge supports Android Automotive, which will hopefully enable developers and manufacturers to easily work it into their own systems. That could potentially help it gain wider adoption.
It’s not the first move Nvidia has made in the world of cars. The company pointed out that its Omniverse Avatar Cloud Engine lets developers create in-vehicle AI assistants that can book reservations, access vehicle controls, and make recommendations. That’s something that feeds into the features offered by Drive Concierge.
Drive Concierge appears to be riding a wave of all-screen car information systems. In June 2022, Apple announced it was working on a major update to CarPlay that would take the system across the entire dashboard and center stack. As well as that, Automakers from Kia to Mercedes have also been ditching physical dials and controls in favor of digital screens. Drive Concierge is the latest to join the ranks, and Nvidia is clearly hoping it will help push the field further.
The second announcement from Nvidia that might interest car owners is called Drive Thor, which the company describes as its “next-generation centralized computer for safe and secure autonomous vehicles.”
Drive Thor covers a wide array of tasks, including automated and assisted driving and parking. It also appears to power features similar to those found in Drive Concierge, including in-vehicle infotainment systems and driver and passenger monitoring.
Nvidia explains that Drive Thor is a centralized system-on-a-chip. This means that autonomous and driver-assisted systems can run more efficiently since automakers no longer need to place multiple control units throughout the car to run various features.
There are other ways Drive Thor can perform better than previous iterations, Nvidia claims. There’s the inclusion of an inference transformer engine, a new Tensor Core component that improves deep neural network performance by up to nine times. That in turn results in better AI output.
Drive Thor is a direct replacement for Drive Atlan, Nvidia’s previous AI system for autonomous vehicles. Nvidia says Drive Thor should be available to automakers’ 2025 models.
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