LAS VEGAS -- Nvidia said its new K1 mobile processor will provide a decisive impulse for the trend toward autonomous driving.

nvidia-tegra

Nvidia's Tegra K1 chip offers more computing power and low energy consumption (Photo: Nvidia)

The US-based chipmaker said the its Tegra K1 chip is an automotive-grade version of the same GPU that powers several energy-efficient supercomputers already.

Because of its efficiency, the Tegra K1 can handle large amounts of data. It can drive drive camera-based, advanced driver assistance systems and can, for example, monitor driver alertness via a dashboard-mounted camera.

Sensor and camera data are increasing inside the car, requiring ever more powerful computers. As autonomous driving becomes a reality,  processors need to handle even more data, which is difficult with the current generation of processors. "Tegra K1 solves this by providing 10 times the computing power of previous mobile processors without consuming additional energy," said Taner Ozcelik, vice president and general manager Nvidia's automotive business.

Audi is expected to announce later Monday how it will use the Tegra K1 to offer more advanced infotainment in new models. Said Audi's head of electrics and electronics Ricky Hudi:  "Tegra K1 opens a new chapter for Audi to deliver revolutionary supercomputing advances to the car, paving the way to piloted driving experiences."

Nvidia is one of the companies making a big automotive push at this year's International CES. Several major automakers and a broad range of automotive suppliers and service providers are announcing new technologies at the consumer electronics show. The exhibition officially opens Tuesday.