Nvidia teams up with Uber and VW, and unveils its latest massive gaming monitors

Nvidia has used its keynote at CES 2018 to brandish a pair of notable partnerships, announcing collaborations with Uber and Volkswagen that could help steer the direction of self-driving cars.

First up, ride-sharing company Uber has said it will use Nvidia technology for the AI computing systems in its upcoming fleet of autonomous taxis and trucks. These are the experimental fleets tucked within the Uber Advanced Technologies Group, which has been working towards self-driving technology since 2015.

“The future of transportation will be transformed by mobility services. Convenient, affordable mobility-as-a-service will reshape cities and society, and help support the billion-person increase in the world’s population over the next decade,” said NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang.

Uber has so far trialled autonomous cars in the US cities of Pittsburgh and Phoenix, and claims to have completed 50,000 rides across its testing period. The company is already using Nvidia processors in its self-driving vehicles, so this announcement looks more like a strengthening of that relationship – rather than a totally new partnership.

The Volkswagen collaboration is centred on the VW I.D. Buzz; a futuristic take on the iconic VW MicroBus that comes with an electric engine and self-driving technology. The latter will be built around Nvidia Drive IX technology, which will also allow for facial recognition to automatically unlock the vehicle.

“In just a few years, every new vehicle will be expected to have AI assistants for voice, gesture and facial recognition as well as augmented reality,” said Huang. “Volkswagen’s work with Nvidia Drive IX technology will make that a reality. Together, we are building a new generation of cars that are safer, more enjoyable to ride in than anything that has come before, and accessible to everyone.”

Nvidia’s contribution will help create the I.D. Buzz’s “Intelligent Co-Pilot”, which will offer assistance to drivers based on information pulled from external sensors. Intriguingly, Nvidia says “systems can be enhanced throughout the life of the vehicle via software updates, and can gain new capabilities as further developments are made in autonomous driving”. As more developments are made in autonomous technology, therefore, the co-pilot may eventually shift into a pilot.

Nvidia BFGD

Closer to hand is Nvidia’s large-screened G-Sync equipped BFGD TV. What do all of these letters mean, I hear you ask. Well, TV is an easy one. BFGD stands for Big Format Gaming Displays, while G-Sync is an Nvidia technology that synchronises whatever game you’re playing to the display’s 120Hz refresh rate.

It’s a big screen for games, essentially.

The 65in monitor supports playback from a range of native frame rates, including 23.976, 24 and 25fps formats, and has a blinding luminance of up to 1,000 nits with a DCI-P3 colour gamut. Smooth, bright and big, but you’ll need a sizeable living room to contain it.  

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