The Silicon Valley firm is ubiquitous in the budding self-driving technology sector, with ongoing partnerships with automakers, technology companies and auto suppliers, including Tesla Inc, Uber Technologies Inc, China'sBaidu Inc and Volkswagen AG. On May 18, a Volvo XC90 SUV equipped with Uber's autonomous vehicle system struck and killed a pedestrian who was crossing the road. Nvidia will suspend its autonomous vehicle testing in public roads for a limited time.
Nvidia suggested that the accident was a reminder of the challenges facing the development of self-driving technology, and has reaffirmed the company's approach of "extreme caution" and "the best safety technologies".
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Ultimately, autonomous vehicles "will be far safer than human drivers, so this important work needs to continue", the Santa Clara, California-based company said in an email.
At the same time it's announcing the cessation of real-world testing, Nvidia also unveiled a new system for testing self-driving cars, one that takes place in a virtual rather than real-world environment. Currently, over 370 partner companies and about 200 startups are using various versions of NVIDIA's DRIVE platform to develop their self-driving technology. "Our global fleet of manually driven data collection vehicles continue to operate", said the Nvidia spokesperson in a statement. The second server contains the NVIDIA DRIVE Pegasus AI auto computer that runs the entire software stack in an autonomous driving vehicle. The first server powers the Nvidia DRIVE Sim, a software set that emulates a self-driving car's various sensors, including its cameras, lidar and radar.
Last week, Toyota also halted its self-driving vehicle testing.
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"Deploying production self-driving cars requires a solution for testing and validating on billions of driving miles to achieve the safety and reliability needed for customers", said Rob Csongor, vice president and general manager of Automotive at NVIDIA.
Uber proactively suspended self-driving operations in all cities following the accident.
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