At the on-going 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Audi has announced its collaboration with tech giant, NVIDIA to use artificial intelligence (AI) in developing highly automated vehicles, which are expected to hit the roads by 2020.
“Audi drivers know the pinnacle of performance and technology,’’ said Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America. “In our mutual pursuit for safer roads, the partnership between Audi and NVIDIA will expand to deep learning and artificial intelligence to bring higher automation into production more quickly.”
“NVIDIA is pioneering the use of deep learning AI to revolutionize transportation,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, Founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “Audi’s adoption of our DRIVE computing platform will accelerate the introduction of next-generation automated vehicles, moving us closer to a future of greater driving safety and new mobility services.”
To showcase their progress, Audi and NVIDIA developed an Audi Q7 piloted driving concept vehicle, which uses neural networks and end-to-end deep learning on NVIDIA’s artificial intelligence platform to navigate a complex course. The vehicle learns from both the road and the driver in every kilometer it travels and can handle unpredictable situations like 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.
At the 2017 CES, Audi demonstrates to the public how the Audi Q7 piloted driving concept works without a driver behind the wheel. 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 performed several laps on a closed course, where the configuration of the track was 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 plans to expand testing of its highly automated, artificial intelligence-equipped vehicles on public roads in California and select states starting next year.
Audi and NVIDIA are long-time partners, where the collaboration between both companies are the result of technology innovations such as Audi MMI navigation and the Audi virtual cockpit. Later this year, Audi will introduce the next generation Audi A8 that feature Traffic Jam Pilot, which uses a central driver assistance controller, or zFAS, with NVIDIA hardware and software. This system will give drivers the option to turn over steering, throttle, and braking functionality to the vehicle at speeds of up to 56 km/h when certain conditions are met, aiding Audi drivers during their often stressful freeway commutes.