CES 2014: NVIDIA’s new Tegra K1 mobile processor for self-driving cars

At CES 2014, NVIDIA announced that its new Tegra K1 mobile processor will help self-driving cars to feature a variety of auto applications.

With its automotive-grade version of the same GPU that powers the world’s 10 most energy-efficient supercomputers, the NVIDIA Tegra K1 features a quad-core CPU and a 192-core GPU using the NVIDIA Kepler architecture.

Tegra K1 will drive camera-based, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) — such as pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning and street sign recognition — and can also monitor driver alertness via a dashboard-mounted camera.

“To process the steady deluge of sensor and camera data required by a self-driving car, NVIDIA is bringing highly energy-efficient supercomputer technology inside the vehicle,” said Taner Ozcelik, vice president and general manager of the Automotive business at NVIDIA.

NVIDIA  new Tegra K1 mobile processor for self-driving cars

The Tegra K1 is also the first mobile processor to support CUDA — the parallel computing platform at the heart of modern computer vision. In its automotive-grade form, this super chip is hardened to withstand a wider range of temperatures and withstand harsher operating conditions.

Tegra K1 processor excels at creating razor-sharp, photo-real 3D graphics. Using NVIDIA’s Material Definition Language — which simulates how light reflects and refracts off of actual materials — digital instrument clusters and infotainment systems can be customized with a wide range of virtual materials, from copper, titanium and brushed aluminum, to stitched leather and carbon fiber.

Libraries of photo-realistic rendered material provide a nearly limitless range of customizable digital cockpit configurations. These allow drivers to configure their gauges, controls and dials to suit their unique tastes.

Tegra K1 opens a new chapter for Audi to deliver revolutionary supercomputing advances to the car, paving the way to piloted driving experiences.

“Audi and NVIDIA have a long, deep partnership, in which we’ve utilized three generations of Tegra to bring industry-leading capabilities to the instrument cluster, infotainment and rear seat entertainment systems,” said Ricky Hudi, chief executive engineer of electrics/electronics at Audi.

Tegra K1 will be available to automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers as a visual computing module (VCM), an innovative design first introduced two years ago. The Tegra K1 VCM delivers a full computer system for the vehicle, capable of running various operating systems including QNX, Android, Linux or Windows.

The Tegra VCM allows in-vehicle systems to be easily upgraded as newer hardware becomes available, closing the gap between the rapid pace of innovation in the consumer electronics space and the longer development lifecycles typically experienced in the automotive industry.

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