Mercedes-Benz and Nvidia to build autonomous driving software

24 June 2020

24 June 2020

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand is teaming up with US technology company Nvidia to create an in-vehicle computing system and AI infrastructure. Due to start in 2024, this technology will be rolled out across the fleet of next-generation vehicles, equipping them with upgradable autonomous driving functions.

Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius and Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang announced their planned cooperation in a live-streamed event from Stuttgart and Silicon Valley. Working together, the companies claim they want to develop the most sophisticated and advanced computing architecture ever deployed in a vehicle.

Autonomous features

Mercedes-Benz Nvidia will jointly develop AI and autonomous vehicle applications that include SAE Level 2 and 3 capabilities, as well as automated parking functions (up to Level 4). This includes the ability to automate driving of regular routes from one address to another.

There will be numerous safety features and convenience-based applications too. This will allow customers to purchase and add capabilities, software applications and subscription services all via over-the-air updates.

Therefore, integrating and updating advanced software features looks to become easier with a centralised in-car computing system. Receiving periodic software updates, the next generation of Mercedes-Benz vehicles could more closely resemble a mobile phone.

′At no time in history has so much computing power been put into a car,’ Huang said. ′We are excited to work with Mercedes-Benz. It’s the perfect partner for us given its long record of innovation and our strong technical relationship.’

′Every future Mercedes-Benz with the Nvidia Drive system will come with a team of expert AI and software engineers continuously developing, refining and enhancing the car over its lifetime,’ Huang added.

′State of the art’

The new software will be built on the Nvidia Drive platform and will come as standard in Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation fleet. The Drive infrastructure will allow both companies to take a data-driven approach to development.

′We are delighted to be able to extend our cooperation with Nvidia,’ said Källenius. ′This new platform will become an efficient, centralised and software-defined system in our future Mercedes-Benz vehicles.’

He went on to say that Nvidia’s AI computing architecture will streamline the Mercedes-Benz journey towards autonomous driving. ′These new capabilities and upgrades will be downloaded from the cloud, improving safety, increasing value and extending the joy of ownership for all Mercedes-Benz customers.’

Orin, the on-chip computer system, is based on the recently announced Nvidia Ampere supercomputing architecture. This platform includes a full system software stack designed for automated driving AI applications. According to the carmaker, this will enable ′state of the art automated driving functionalities.’

Tricky tech relationships

The new cooperation follows an announcement from Mercedes-Benz and BMW that they are putting their joint development of autonomous driving technology on hold. First announced in early 2019, the strategic cooperation was hoped to be a long-term arrangement. The aim was to make next-level technologies widely available by 2024

These advancements were touted to include driver-assistance systems, autonomous driving on highways and autonomous parking (all to SAE Level 4 Automation). Instead, the agreement folded, with the potential for the carmakers to pick up the cooperation again at some point.

In the meantime, both manufacturers agreed to concentrate on their own existing development paths. This included the potential for working with current or new partners. With Mercedes-Benz now establishing fresh cooperative ties with Nvidia, automotive technology fans can only hope this cooperation bears more fruit than the last.