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Nvidia introduces Drive Atlan, a system-on-chip platform for autonomous vehicles: Everything to know

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Nvidia has announced Drive Atlan, an AI-enabled system-on-chip platform for autonomous vehicles. Announced at GTC 2021, Drive Atlan combines CPU, GPU and DPU on a chip that utilises deep learning, machine vision accelerators and ‘Ampere-Next’ GPU resources to deliver 1,000 TOPS (Trillion Operations Per Second). The new Drive platform has a 4X lift over the existing Drive platform, Grace GPU complex and Arm core technology.

Although, an MIT report suggests that completely autonomous cars will take a decade at least to hit the roads, the pandemic can hasten the need for driverless, self-disinfecting cars that reduce the risk of spreading infection significantly. According to a paper by Allied Market Research, the global driverless car market will be valued at $556.67 billion by 2021.

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Nvidia‘s new offering Atlan with its BlueField data processing unit that is one place for storage, networking and security functions is up to 33 times more powerful than its other autonomous car chips like Drive Orin and Drive Xavier. While Xavier gives 30 TOPs, Orin tops out at 254 TOPs. The BlueField DPU will offer intrusion detection, a “zero-trust” security architecture against cyber-attacks for the safety and security of self-driving vehicles.

Calling it a ‘technical marvel’, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said that Atlan can deliver a large number of AI-based applications running simultaneously in driverless vehicles. Nvidia Atlan is eyeing to enter the vehicle production stage in 2025.

Nvidia will be using Volvo models for its Orin car computing chip. The first car that will be equipped with this chip is XC90 that is reading for next year reveal. The vehicles will use software developed by Volvo’s Zenseact subsidiary as well as backup systems for braking and steering. The other core functionalities in the car will be served by a Xavier powered server like energy management and driver assistance. Lidar sensor data processing and vision will be taken care of by Orin.

Nvidia also introduced its latest Hyperion platform at GTC 2021 that marries high-performance compute, sensors and software for level 4 autonomous vehicle designing. The latest 8th generation Hyperion extracts data from 12 exterior cameras, three interior cameras, nine radars and one lidar sensor and processes them in two Orion chips. This platform will support real-time record and camera capture with Nvidia’s existing Drive AV and Drive IX software stacks. The latest Hyperion will be available after 2021.

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