Nvidia CEO Huang shows Drive PX2 at a pre-CES briefing (Photo: Arjen Bongard)

LAS VEGAS -- Volvo Cars will operate a test fleet of 100 XC90 SUVs equipped with Nvidia's new deep-learning based computing engine.

Nvidia said on the eve of the CES consumer electronics show here that the test cars, which will start driving autonomously in the Gothenburg area next year, will be equipped with its new Drive PX2 platform, which the chipmaker hopes will accelerate the path to driverless driving.

"Drivers deal with an infinitely complex world," said Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. "Modern artificial intelligence and GPU breakthroughs enable us to finally tackle the daunting challenges of self-driving cars."

Huang, in a press briefing, said Nvidia's Drive PX2 uses deep learning to recognize the environment of the car, processing data from multiple sensors in real time. The engine has 8 teraflops of processing power, as much as 150 MacBook Pros. It has the size of a lunchbox.

Artificial intelligence is a growing focus of the auto industry, as traditional carmakers look for ways to let computers drive their cars.

Nvidia said its first-generation Drive PX, released last year, has helped automakers speed up development of autonomous driving technologies. It is working with Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford and other car companies.

-By Arjen Bongard