NVIDIA’s background is in gaming and building supercomputers, as well as GPUs for that purpose. While that might not appeal to everyone, it has been the training field for some incredibly complex computing and has led NVIDIA to be able to participate in many additional markets as well as be the best performing stock in the S&P500.
The four main areas of activity, and of last evening’s announcements were gaming, VR/AR/MR (Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality), data centers and self driving cars.
Jen-Hsun started by suggesting we were enjoying the most exciting time in the computer industry ever, with machine learning and deep Neural Networks creating a big bang for AI.
Needless to say, the gaming announcements were exciting for those in the community and included a partnership with Facebook and the launch of GeForce Now, an on demand option for gamers without the computing power required on their own PC, leveraging cloud super-computing.
The start of the keynote was about NVIDIA’s developments in the $10 trillion transportation industry, an industry that Jen-Hsun thinks can and will be revolutionized by AI.
Jen-Hsun envisaged a world where there were fewer parked cars, fewer accidents, less wasted fuel and lower environmental impact from vehicles. He also imagined cars to be your most personal robot or assistant.
NVIDIA believes that AI is the solution to self-driving and the launch of their XAVIER, an AI Super Computer that brings all their technical experience to bear on the automotive industry. The vision is for self-driving systems that learn rather than ones that are programmed. It is a vision of a car that interacts with the driver using face recognition, head tracking, gaze tracking, and lip reading (as well as voice recognition) to include the driver in the AI’s ecosystem, so the driver’s behavior becomes part of the awareness of the vehicle.
A learning vehicle should be able to tell you when it is less confident in order to ask you to take the controls and then go into a co-pilot mode where it supports your driving while continuing to learn.
NVIDIA announced partnerships with a number of mapping companies to provide data, including Baidu in China, TomTom in Europe, Zenrin in Japan and ‘here’, who are installing NVIDIA GPUs into their data centers used for mapping.
Just when you think that NVIDIA sees itself as a tier 1 automotive OEM they announce more partnerships including the ZF ProAI announcement already released earlier in the day and a partnership that will see Bosch adopting their AI Car Supercomputer. Jen-Hsun will speak at Bosch Connected World, held in Berlin in March.
Scott Keogh, President of Audi of America, joined Jen-Hsun on stage and they confirmed the plans to build an AI car, which would be on the road by 2020.
The technology and computing power that NVIDIA can bring to the table is something that is exciting for every sector where AI can be applied. Automotive and smart home are obvious candidates, but clearly there are many others and many opportunities for this dynamic and fast growing technology leader.