Modern cars are very complex things. Although the vast majority of cars are still powered by internal combustion engines, they also have a wide variety of electronic and computerized systems that control everything from power windows and central locking to air conditioning and the antilock braking system.
For the most part, all of those systems are completely independent of each other, all controlled by different electronic control units, some of which can talk to each other, while others will essentially exist in relative vacuum. The disparate nature of this solution also severely limits the upgrade potential of any of the systems within a car.
Now, Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz have teamed up in an effort to change the way electronic systems work in cars; replacing all those disparate systems with a powerful computing platform that is flexible and smart enough to run everything as software applications.
Nvidia is already pushing Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX cabin system, so this latest partnership is expanding the scope of Nvidia’s solution to the entire car. And since Nvidia’s Drive AGX platform is basically a high-performance computer capable of complex artificial intelligence functionality, the impact it can have on the next generation of Mercedes-Benz cars will certainly be significant.
Nvidia is already a leader in automotive AI, with the latest Drive AGX platform forming the foundation of the autonomous driving game for many automakers, one of which is obviously Mercedes-Benz. But with that cutting-edge AI in the mix, Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia will not only be able to centralize control of all the car’s systems in an intelligent way, but will be able to create entirely new systems and features; characteristics that they can even learn over time, with a deep understanding of who drives the car and what their habits and routines might be.
There are a lot of buzz around autonomous driving here at CES, and they’re all looking to get Tier 3 autonomy on the market, but the decision by Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz to explore and develop a broader mandate for that AI computing power it’s a smart move. But that’s not to say that next-level autonomous driving isn’t in the mix either; of course it is.
2019 is sure to be a great year for smart and semi-autonomous cars, and we’ll see higher-profile collaborations between established auto and tech companies. However, it’s a safe bet that Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz will build something worth seeing, experiencing, and driving; or maybe you don’t drive at all.