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Article - 13 April 2021

Volvo Cars agreement with NVIDIA to join data-processing power race.

Volvo Cars reported at the beginning of the week that it will use a new-gen NVIDIA chip to incorporate more autonomous driving functions in future vehicles, starting with a new generation XC90 due to launch in 2022.

Volvo is among a number of established automotive manufacturers putting processing power ahead of horsepower in an attempt to try and catch up with Tesla and their industry-leading software-driven features and functional capability. Their cars and SUVs with powerful, and expensive, on-board computers can manage complex tasks such as automated driving, and can be upgraded over the air.

Using NVIDIA, the maker of high-powered chips for gaming and data processing centres, Volvo hopes to close the gap. NVIDIA are benefitting from the computing power race among automotive manufacturers after striking a similar deal with electric startup Faraday Future, and other agreements expected in the coming weeks.

This could mark a reboot of growth for the gaming and data centre processing company’s automotive business …

“NVIDIA’s pipeline of automotive orders has grown into the many billions of dollars,”

… Danny Shapiro, NVIDIA’s Senior Director of Automotive, told reporters ahead of the company’s GTC21 conference on Monday. Revenue for the company’s automotive business fell 23% in 2020.

Volvo Cars, owned by China’s Geely Holding, said it will use NVIDIA’s new Drive Orin system, with far more processing power than current NVIDIA chips used in Volvo vehicles.

In a nod to Tesla, Volvo said vehicles equipped with the new NVIDIA Orin systems will be “hardware-ready” for autonomous driving features such as a “Highway Pilot” feature that will be activated via a software download “when it is verified to be safe for individual geographic locations and conditions.”

Rival automotive manufacturers including Daimler AG and several Chinese electric vehicle startups are taking a similar approach.

NVIDIA also said on Monday it is developing a new onboard computer system on a chip called Atlan that will give a car the computing power currently found in a data centre. This chip should be ready for 2025 models.

Sources: Reuters; ET Auto

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