NVIDIA has opened up its Drive Constellation simulation platform to partners for virtual testing and validation of autonomous driving hardware and software. Partners are invited to integrate their world models, vehicle models and traffic scenarios to create real-world representations of unpredictable and complex environments, which will in turn make Drive Constellation ever-more comprehensive.

Partners already developing on NVIDIA Drive include Toyota, which is to incorporate the Drive AGX Xavier ‘AI brain’ in cars from 2020, and Isuzu Motors, which is developing trucks with 360-degree surround perception, lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and platooning, in advance of high automation and full autonomy.

At the GTC Japan conference, NVIDIA said that the Drive community in Japan further includes software start-ups, robotaxi firms, map-makers and sensor suppliers. It cited Tier IV, which is using the Drive AGX platform to develop software for urban driverless vehicles and working with operators including Japan Post; and ZMP, developing robotaxis for operation at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Drive AGX platform integrates technologies including Sony’s 8-megapixel automotive camera, Panasonic’s depth-sensing camera, and Omron’s 3D LiDAR sensor.

Drive AGX Xavier DevKit launched

At GTC Japan, NVIDIA further introduced the Drive AGX Xavier developer kit, an open platform for building and testing autonomous driving systems. The ‘DevKit’ includes the Drive AGX Xavier car computer, a connecting harness, power supply, camera sensor and more.

Its Drive Software 1.0 release incorporates data collection, obstacle and path perception, advanced driver monitoring and in-vehicle visualization, plus DriveWorks modules for a sensor abstraction layer, computer vision and imagine processing libraries. Deep neural networks identify lane markings, traffic signals, cars, pedestrians and other important elements, which are detected, classified and tracked. The software can be updated over-the-air.

The DevKit is said to be highly scalable, from a single Xavier system-on-a-chip (SoC) to the Drive AGX Pegasus, with dual SoCs and next-generation GPUs (graphic processing units). It is available from 1 October 2018.

-Farah Alkhalisi