Seemingly every transportation company wants in on the self-driving trend, whether it's Ford (F - Get Report) , General Motors (GM - Get Report) , Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) , Uber (UBER) , Lyft (LYFT) or others. These companies are pouring billions into R&D for these autonomous technologies, and as a result, they're starting to turn to partners to help with that expensive burden. That's leaving tech companies as the big winners from this movement, at least in the early innings.
The latest victory for Nvidia? Its newly announced partnership with Volvo.
As Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang explained on a media conference call on Tuesday, the deal is the company's first end-to-end A.I. development, simulation and in-car partnership. It's one of the company's broadest tie-ups, encompassing a multi-year development agreement for Volvo trucks, buses and construction vehicles.
Volvo is one of the world's largest trucking manufacturers, making this a noteworthy announcement, although it's hardly a surprising one.
Nvidia has been steadily increasing its partnerships over the past few years. Most notably, the company continues to increase its business with Daimler (DDAIF) , the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. And when Nvidia announced that its DRIVE Constellation simulation platform was available to customers back in March, it also announced a partnership with Toyota (TM - Get Report) .
The Volvo Group plans to introduce solutions based on NVIDIA technology across the entire spectrum of automation, from driver support systems to fully autonomous vehicles and machines. Photo credit: Volvo Group and NVIDIA.
Nvidia's Building a World-Class Self-Driving Portfolio
On Monday, Nvidia unveiled the world's 22nd-fastest supercomputer, the SuperPOD, which is aimed directly at training autonomous driving systems. We wrote that Nvidia is building the most powerful portfolio of self-driving technologies.
Companies that want the full or partial package get exactly what they're looking for with Nvidia. An A.I. infotainment system is possible with Nvidia's Drive IX. Drive Pegasus is the onboard component capable of delivering full self-driving features to the vehicle. Drive Constellation allows for the wide-ranging simulation of autonomous driving systems, improving both safety and efficiency while allowing massive scalability. Finally, SuperPOD now makes training these neural networks a more realistic challenge for autonomous driving companies.
In short, Nvidia's building a full suite of self-driving products. While Nvidia is still working with Toyota and its partnership with Daimler seems ever-expanding, Volvo is the first to take on such a deep partnership with Nvidia.
Volvo is "using the NVIDIA DRIVE end-to-end autonomous driving platform to train, test and deploy self-driving AI vehicles, targeting public transport, freight transport, refuse and recycling collection, construction, mining, forestry and more," according to an Nvidia blog post about the deal.
Essentially, Volvo will be using Nvidia's suite of products -- Pegasus for the vehicles, Constellation for simulated validation, the Drive AV software stack for mapping, perception, processing and more -- to create a leading autonomous trucking solution.
Can we expect more partnerships in the future? Most likely.
Daimler recently talked about its self-driving truck ambitions and is one of the world's largest trucking manufacturers. Would it be a stretch to see Nvidia and Daimler partner on this, too? Of course not.
But it doesn't matter in the end. Nvidia has established that it's in the top position to offer the best self-driving solutions for logistics companies. It's building the necessary hardware to make fantasy a reality and in that sense, perhaps Nvidia will be one of the biggest winners in the autonomous driving space.