NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) stock might have unveiled it’s next big catalyst at this years Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
“Microsoft, Intel era at CES gives way to rising star NVIDIA,” reads a news headline on the popular tech news site Phys.org. In fact, NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), after being catapulted to the top by its stellar stock performance (1), got the coveted first speaking slot at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in past years by the likes of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC). CES, held every year at the beginning of January in Las Vegas, is widely regarded as the top consumer electronics event.
The CES opening keynote was given by NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, who shared the company’s vision for reinventing gaming, TV and transportation, and underlined its leadership in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), gaming and automotive. Huang announced new NVIDIA products and services for cloud gaming and media streaming, but his keynote was mostly focused on AI, its applications to self-driving cars, and a new partnership with leading car maker Audi.
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AI is the cornerstone of NVIDIA’s strategy. “Because of artificial intelligence we’re now able to realize the dreams that we’ve been dreaming about for so many years,” said Huang. “What used to be science fiction is going to be reality in a few years.”
Scott Keogh, president of Audi of America, joined Jen-Hsun to announce that Audi and NVIDIA are working together to put advanced AI cars on the road by 2020. The first phase of the partnership focuses on NVIDIA DRIVE PX, NVIDIA’s AI platform for self-driving cars, which uses trained AI neural networks to understand the surrounding environment, and determine a safe path forward. Announced at CES 2016 (2), NVIDIA’s DRIVE PX 2 is considered as the world’s most powerful engine for in-vehicle AI for autonomous cars, with ten times the processing power of the previous-generation unit announced at CES 2015, and can process 24 trillion operations per second.
“NVIDIA is pioneering the use of deep learning AI to revolutionize transportation,” said Huang. “Audi’s adoption of our DRIVE computing platform for AI cars will accelerate the introduction of next-generation autonomous vehicles, moving us closer to a future of higher driving safety and new mobility services.”
Huang addressed how AI will anticipate the driver’s needs – driving to the office in the morning and home at night, automatically opening and closing the garage door, and adjusting the climate to the individual’s preferences, as well as being able to understand and respond to requests in a natural conversational language.
“Audi drivers know the pinnacle of performance and technology,” added Keogh. “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 onto the road more quickly.”
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is a key technology for piloted driving – that’s why Audi and strong partners from the electronics industry are jointly developing game-changing know-how in the field of machine learning,” notes an Audi press release. “At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Audi is presenting the Audi Q7 deep learning concept, a piloted driving car made possible thanks to collaboration with NVIDIA. In conjunction with the CES keynote address by NVIDIA, Audi is demonstrating the intelligence of the Q7 deep learning concept on a specially designed, variable open area for piloted driving.”
The Audi Q7 orients itself by means of a front camera with 2 megapixel resolution, and the camera communicates with an NVIDIA Drive PX 2 processing unit, which in turn controls the steering with high precision. The high-performance controller is specially engineered for piloted driving applications. The car uses NVIDIA PilotNet, a deep neural network that recognizes and understands its changing environment while driving safely.
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