NVIDIA has recently announced the DRIVE Constellation Simulation System, a product offering that aims to aid designers and manufacturers in the testing and development of autonomous vehicles. This simulation system is cloud-based and it utilizes photorealistic simulation, which the tech firm claims should help create a safer and more scalable way of testing vehicles. This system is comprised of two servers, with one of the servers running the DRIVE Sim software. This server is responsible for simulating a wide range of environmental conditions, including rainstorms, snowstorms, and sharp glare and it contains a number of powerful GPUs that are responsible for producing simulated data from sensors like cameras, LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), and Radar.
The simulated sensor data produced by the DRIVE Sim software is transmitted to the second server in the simulation system, which contains the DRIVE Pegasus computer. The DRIVE Pegasus is a high-performance artificial intelligence computer that runs the complete software stack of an autonomous vehicle, and it receives the sensor data from the DRIVE Sim software at a rate of 30 times a second. The software running on the DRIVE Pegasus then processes the data and sends driving commands to the simulated vehicle. In its press release, the tech firm emphasized some of the key advantages of utilizing its simulation system in the development of self-driving vehicles. One of the key selling points of this system is the ability to test vehicles in simulated rare weather conditions and dangerous terrains while eliminating the risk of vehicle damage or injury. Moreover, this system also enables manufacturers to test the software of automated vehicles for billions of miles in custom scenarios within a much shorter period of time and at much lower cost.
Within the last few years, the tech company has been involved in the development of self-driving vehicles. Back at CES 2018, the firm announced that it has been chosen by the ride-sharing platform Uber to power the latter's self-driving car fleet. NVIDIA also signed a deal with the Chinese tech giant Baidu to develop an autonomous driving platform specifically for the Chinese market. The tech firm noted that the DRIVE Constellation Simulation System will become available to partners starting in the third quarter of 2018.