Nvidia pushes into computing, teams up with Uber and Volkswagen

Following its push into computing and AI, Nvidia has struck two new major alliances - one with Uber to supply technology for the ride-hailing service's future driver-less vehicle fleet, and another with Volkswagen to create artificial intelligence applications for the German car maker's global auto line.

The announcement of the two projects and numerous other achievements came at CES, the annual January tech extravangaza, during a two-hour presentation by Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang.

Huang referred to developing AV tech, improving trucking and making robotic taxis are reality as ''three fantastic opportunities for us to apply our work to revolutionise the (transportation) industry.'' An audience of several hundred had turned up at the MGM Grand Convention Center in Las Vegas on the opening night of CES 2018 to listen to the Nvidia chief.

Nvidia is working with over 320 companies globally on automotive applications, including Audi, Tesla, Volvo, Baidu, Mercedes-Benz, apart from the Volkswagen and Uber projects.

Rival Intel, is also expanding AV tech partnerships, notably in projects with Alphabet's Waymo and BMW. At stake is the revenue generated from the transportation industry, which Huang estimated at $10 trillion worldwide.

Touted by Nvidia as the "world's most powerful SoC (system on a chip)," Xavier, the next generation of its autonomous driving stack is built to process Level 5 autonomous driving data from a vehicle's radar, cameras, Lidar and ultrasonic systems with greater energy efficiency and a smaller form factor than anything else on the market.

According to Nvidia, Xavier forms the basis of two software platforms - Drive IX and the just announced Drive AR - all of which form part of Nvidia's Pegasus AI computing platform.

Huang announced the new platforms in his Sunday night keynote address at CES.

Drive IX is the  artificial intelligence layer that, according to Nvidia, will enable automakers to incorporate automotive data into the user experience and operational controls of the vehicle.