DETROIT (Reuters) – Volvo Cars said Monday it will use a new generation of powerful chips from Nvidia Corp to enable more autonomous driving features in future vehicles, starting next year.
Volvo is among a crowd of new and established automakers that put digital processing power ahead of horsepower as they try to catch up with Tesla Inc.
Tesla, the world’s most valuable automaker, has taken the lead in software-driven features and functional capabilities in part by equipping its cars and SUVs with powerful and expensive built-in computers that can handle complex tasks such as automatic driving and over-the-air upgrades.
For Nvidia, the Volvo deal, a similar deal to launch electric cars Faraday Future and other deals expected in the coming weeks mark a restart of growth for the gaming and data center processor company.
Volvo Cars, owned by China’s Geely Holding, said it would use Nvidia’s new Drive Orin system with far more processing power than the current Nvidia chips used in Volvo vehicles, starting with a new generation XC90 sporting tool due to launch next year.
In a nod to Tesla, Volvo said that vehicles equipped with the new Nvidia Orin systems will be “hardware-ready” for autonomous driving functions such as a “Highway Pilot” function activated via a software download “when it is confirmed that it is safe for individual geographical locations and conditions. ”
Faraday Future said it will offer autonomous driving, parking and a “call” feature in its FF 91 model, expected to be released in 2022. Tesla already offers a “call” system that allows a car to navigate through a parking lot on the owner’s remote command.
Competing automakers including Daimler AG and several Chinese startups of electric cars are taking a similar approach.
Nvidia also said Monday that they are developing a new integrated computer system on a chip called Atlan, which gives a car the computing power currently found in a data center. This chip should be ready for 2025 models, Nvidia said.
Reporting by Joe White; Editing by Nick Zieminski