>> Automaker unveils plans to launch smart, extended-range electric vehicle in 2022.

One of the leading EV startups in China is charging up its compute capabilities.

Li Auto announced today it would develop its next generation of electric vehicles using the high-performance, energy-efficient NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin. These new vehicles will be developed in collaboration with tier 1 supplier Desay SV and feature advanced autonomous driving features, as well as extended battery range for truly intelligent mobility.

The startup has become a standout brand in China over the past year. Its electric model lineup has led domestic sales of medium and large SUVs for eight consecutive months. With this latest announcement, the automaker can extend its lead to the autonomous driving industry.

NVIDIA Orin, the SoC at the heart of the future fleet, achieves 200 TOPS — nearly 7x the performance and 3x the energy efficiency of our previous generation SoC — and is designed to handle the large number of applications and deep neural networks that run simultaneously for automated and autonomous driving. Orin is designed to achieve the systematic safety standards such as ISO 26262 ASIL-D.

This centralized, high-performance system will enable software-defined, intelligent features in Li Auto’s upcoming electric vehicles, making them a smart choice for eco-friendly, safe and convenient driving.

“By cooperating with NVIDIA, Li Auto can benefit from stronger performance and the energy-efficient compute power needed to deliver both advanced driving and fully autonomous driving solutions to market,” said Kai Wang, CTO of Li Auto.

A Software-Defined Architecture

Today, a vehicle’s software functions are powered by dozens of electronic control units, known as ECUs, that are distributed throughout the car. Each is specialized — one unit controls windows and one the door locks, for example, and others control power steering and braking.

This fixed-function architecture is not compatible with intelligent and autonomous features. These AI-powered capabilities are software-defined, meaning they are constantly improving, and require a hardware architecture that supports frequent upgrades.

Vehicles equipped with NVIDIA Orin have the powerful, centralized compute necessary for this software-defined architecture. The SoC was born out of the data center, built with approximately 17 billion transistors to handle the large number of applications and deep neural networks for autonomous systems and AI-powered cockpits.

This high-performance platform will enable Li Auto to become one of the first automakers in China to deploy an independent, advanced autonomous driving system with its next-generation fleet.

The Road Ahead

This announcement is just the first step of a long-term collaboration between NVIDIA and Li Auto.

“The next-generation NVIDIA Orin SoC offers a significant leap in compute performance and energy efficiency,” said Rishi Dhall, vice president of autonomous vehicles at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA works closely with companies like Li Auto to help bring new AI-based autonomous driving capabilities to cutting-edge EVs in China and around the globe.”

By combining NVIDIA’s leadership in AI software and computing with Li Auto’s momentum in the electric vehicle space, together, these companies will develop vehicles that are better for the environment and safer for everyone.

Author - Danny Shapiro, NVIDIA’s Senior Director of Automotive


>> NVIDIA DRIVE ecosystem members announce latest autonomous technology and virtual environments.

The NVIDIA DRIVE ecosystem is going multidimensional.

During the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference this week, autonomous trucking startup Locomation and simulation company announced technological developments powered by NVIDIA DRIVE.

Locomation, a Pittsburgh-based provider of autonomous trucking technology, said it would integrate NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin in the upcoming rollout of its platooning system on public roads in 2022.

Innovating in the virtual world, detailed its toolset to create buildings and landscape assets for simulation environments on NVIDIA DRIVE Sim. Together, these announcements mark milestones in the path toward safer, more efficient autonomous transportation.

Shooting for the Platoon

Locomation recently announced its first commercial system, Autonomous Relay Convoy, which allows one driver to pilot a lead truck while a fully autonomous follower truck operates in tandem.

The ARC system will be deployed with Wilson Logistics, which will operate more than 1,000 Locomation-equipped trucks, powered by NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin, starting in 2022.

NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin is a highly advanced software-defined platform for autonomous vehicles. The system features the new Orin system-on-a-chip, which delivers more than 200 trillion operations per second — nearly 7x the performance of NVIDIA’s previous-generation Xavier SoC.

In August, Locomation and Wilson Logistics successfully completed the first-ever on-road pilot program transporting commercial freight using ARC. Two Locomation trucks, hauling Wilson Logistics trailers and freight, were deployed on a 420-mile long route along I-84 between Portland, Ore., and Nampa, Idaho. This stretch of interstate has some of the most challenging road conditions for truck driving, with curvatures, inclines and wind gusts.

“We’re moving rapidly toward autonomous trucking commercialization, and NVIDIA DRIVE presents a solution for providing a robust, safety-forward platform for our team to work with,” said Çetin Meriçli, CEO and cofounder of Locomation.

Constructing a New Dimension

While Locomation is deploying autonomous vehicles in the real world, is making it easier to create building and landscape assets used to enhance the virtual world on a global scale.

The startup has developed a digital twin platform that uses AI and cloud computing to automatically transform satellite data, aerial images or map and sensor data into building, landscape and infrastructure assets that contribute to a semantic photorealistic 3D environment.

During the opening GTC keynote, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang showcased the technology on NVIDIA DRIVE Sim. DRIVE Sim uses high-fidelity simulation to create a safe, scalable and cost-effective way to bring self-driving vehicles to our roads.

It taps into the computing horsepower of NVIDIA RTX GPUs to deliver a powerful, scalable, cloud-based computing platform. One that is capable of generating billions of qualified miles for autonomous vehicle testing.

These latest announcements from Locomation and demonstrate the breadth of the DRIVE ecosystem, spanning the real and virtual worlds to push autonomous innovation further.

Author - Katie Burke, NVIDIA’s Automotive Content Marketing Manager


>> Partnership is one of the first to build dedicated self-driving commercial fleets.

Self-driving trucks are coming to an interstate near you.

Autonomous trucking startup TuSimple and truck maker Navistar recently announced they will build self-driving semi trucks, powered by the NVIDIA DRIVE AGX platform. The collaboration is one of the first to develop autonomous trucks, set to begin production in 2024.

Over the past decade, self-driving truck developers have relied on traditional trucks retrofitted with the sensors, hardware and software necessary for autonomous driving. Building these trucks from the ground up, however, allows for companies to custom-build them for the needs of a self-driving system as well as take advantage of the infrastructure of a mass production truck manufacturer.

This transition is the first step from research to widespread deployment, said Chuck Price, chief product officer at TuSimple.

“Our technology, developed in partnership with NVIDIA, is ready to go to production with Navistar,” Price said. “This is a significant turning point for the industry.”

Tailor-Made Trucks

Developing a truck to drive on its own takes more than a software upgrade.

Autonomous driving relies on redundant and diverse deep neural networks, all running simultaneously to handle perception, planning and actuation. This requires massive amounts of compute.

The NVIDIA DRIVE AGX platform delivers high-performance, energy-efficient compute to enable AI-powered and autonomous driving capabilities. TuSimple, a member of the NVIDIA Inception program for AI startups, has been using the platform in its test vehicles and pilots, such as its partnership with the United States Postal Service.

Building dedicated autonomous trucks makes it possible for TuSimple and Navistar to develop a centralized architecture optimized for the power and performance of the NVIDIA DRIVE AGX platform. The platform is also automotive grade, meaning it is built to withstand the wear and tear of years driving on interstate highways.

Invaluable Infrastructure

In addition to a customized architecture, developing an autonomous truck in partnership with a manufacturer opens up valuable infrastructure.

Truck makers like Navistar provide nationwide support for their fleets, with local service centers and vehicle tracking. This network is crucial for deploying self-driving trucks that will criss-cross the country on long-haul routes, providing seamless and convenient service to maintain efficiency.

TuSimple is also building out an HD map network of the nation’s highways for the routes its vehicles will travel. Combined with the widespread fleet management network, this infrastructure makes its autonomous trucks appealing to a wide variety of partners — UPS, U.S. Xpress, Penske Truck Leasing and food service supply chain company McLane Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, have all signed on to this autonomous freight network.

And backed by the performance of NVIDIA DRIVE AGX, these vehicles will continue to improve, delivering safer, more efficient logistics across the country.

“We’re really excited as we move into production to have a partner like NVIDIA with us the whole way,” Price said.

Author - Katie Burke, NVIDIA’s Automotive Content Marketing Manager

CES 2020