Nvidia and Intel are competing directly against each other, in the context of their attempt to conquer portions of the autonomous cars market that is right now at its dawn. The projections and estimations about the size of this market during the following decade show that it’s gonna be unprecedented, so getting ready as soon as possible is what the involved companies aim for right now. Nvidia and Intel are two of the largest and most renown chip developers, and since autonomous vehicles are gonna be about the “smartest”, most powerful, and most efficient chips, their role in the field is getting a whole new meaning and value.
Nvidia and Bosch
Nvidia has partnered with Bosch to create the “Xavier”, a new self-driving computer on a chip platform that brings the know-how of the two companies together and into an amazing product. The Xavier features auto-learning and self-adjusting capabilities, over the air updates, and the sheer power that is needed for the complex task of driving. The Xavier is basically a supercomputer that boasts seven billion transistors, manufactured using the pioneering 16nm FinFET process. It consists of an 8-core CPU and a 512-core GPU, delivering a total of 20 trillion operations per second of performance, at the energy consumption of only 20 watts. The estimated official released of the Xavier is estimated to take place somewhere around the end of 2017, and the car manufacturers that have already agreed to use it on their autonomous cars include Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
Intel and MobilEye
Only a few days before the announcement of the aforementioned partnership, Intel paid around $15 million to acquire MobilEye, a company that happens to hold 70% of the current ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) market. MobilEye also had contracted car manufacturers whom they supplied with the artificial intelligence components required for autonomous driving, with the most notable examples being BMW, Hyundai, Renault-Nissan, Chevrolet, and Opel.
Of course, these two aren’t the only ones developing ADAS systems but they are the largest players right now and the competition is expected to become fiercer with time. The car market will soon change forever, as the safety features and fuel economy will gradually become more relevant, while terms like road handling and driving speed/acceleration will become obsolete. As wheels and pedals are removed from the passenger’s cabin, it will all be about driving and entertainment chips that undertake our safe transportation and amusement. Slowly but steadily, chip manufacturers will become equally important to the car manufacturers themselves, and this is when we’ll have something like an Android software-hardware relationship equivalent.