There’s a lot that goes into self-driving vehicles. It’s not just cameras and radar. There’s a bevy of technology that goes into solving the “how” question as well as attempt to automate how to react to other drivers demonstrating their free will, safely or unsafely. Then there’s the regulations and laws to consider, not to mention the wide variety of roads, differing traffic laws by jurisdiction, and the appearance (or lack thereof) of a variety of lane markings. And that’s just a quick list off the top of the head.
It’s no wonder that automakers are pairing up with tech companies to come up with computer solutions to automated driving. Mercedes-Benz is the latest to do so, having joined forces with NVIDIA. According to a release, the two companies are planing to work together to “develop the most sophisticated and advanced computing architecture ever deployed in an automobile.”
Mercedes is set to begin rolling out vehicles with the technology in 2024.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
The solution will be software based and built on the NVIDIA DRIVE platform. Mercedes-Benz is already saying that the architecture will be deployed in the company’s next-generation fleet and will allow for automated driving functionalities.
What features can drivers expect? According to Mercedes, “A primary feature will be the ability to automate driving of regular routes from address to address. In addition, there will be numerous future safety and convenience applications. Customers will be able to purchase and add capabilities, software applications and subscription services through over-the-air software updates during the life of the car.”
This includes developing AI and automated vehicle applications that include SAE vehicle automation Level 2 and 3 levels, as well as automated parking functions (up to Level 4).
Level 2 is considered partial automaton and is defined as requiring the vehicle to be in a specific drive mode to allow for the specific execution of one or more driver assistance systems regarding steering and acceleration/deceleration.
Level 3 is conditional automation. This level allows drivers to switch on automated functionality as part of a drive mode and for that enabled technology to perform all the aspects of dynamic driving. When the system requests, a human can intervene.
Level 4 is a highly automated version of Level 3 requiring even more sophistication. A vehicle with Level 4 technology can respond on its own if a driver does not “properly” respond to prompts from the system to take control. This technology would not be available in just one mode, bu rather in many.
The DRIVE platform includes a computer system-on-chip (SoC), called Orin, which is based on recently announced NVIDIA Ampere supercomputing architecture. It includes a full system software stack designed for automated driving AI applications.
The NVIDIA DRIVE platform includes a full system software stack designed for automated driving AI applications. NVIDIA and Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop the AI and automated vehicle applications that include SAE Level 2 and 3 levels, as well as automated parking functions (up to Level 4).
The new system’s state-of-the-art capabilities will be harnessed with a total focus on safety. As the technology and regulatory framework develop, it will be possible for every car to be updated over-the-air to enable new automated driving functions. Convenience as well as other safety features will also be available.
To develop the new models, both companies will be utilizing NVIDIA DRIVE Infrastructure solutions to enable data driven development and deep neural network development to handle the requirements of the regions and operational domains where the cars will be available.
A statement from Mercedes says that the technology will begin rolling out in 2024.