In the meantime, until Nvidia can sign off on the safety of its self-driving auto technology, the company isn't willing to put lives at risk.
Constellation relies on two different types of server, one running Drive Sim software to simulate photorealistic data from self-driving vehicles' sensors, such as lidar and cameras.
The technology is created to allow automakers and others to validate their technology on billions of driving miles and increase the strength of their algorithms by repeatedly testing hard scenarios, which would be impractical in the real world. "With DRIVE Constellation, we've accomplished that by combining our expertise in visual computing and datacenters. With virtual simulation, we can increase the robustness of our algorithms by testing billions of miles of custom scenarios and rare corner (edge) cases, all in a fraction of the time and cost it would take to do so on physical roads".
To no surprise, the simulation is powered by NVIDIA GPUs. "Anybody who thought that they could get by without supercomputers, and simulators, and just vast amounts of data collection, and all those engineers dedicated to making sure that this product is as safe as possible, you and I got to believe that sensibility has completely changed". This happens 30 times a second and validates algorithms to ensure the simulated vehicle is operating correctly.
"This means you can easily test rare and hard conditions: rainstorms, snowstorms, and sharp glare at different times of the day and night, with different road surfaces and surroundings", the company says.
The company best known for its powerful graphics cards has in recent years waded into the self-driving vehicle waters, and it now counts over 370 partners in the space. The promise is to move self-driving auto testing off the public roads and into data centers before the technology is proven out. "NVIDIA's end-to-end platform is the right approach". We are temporarily suspending the testing of our self-driving cars on public roads to learn from the Uber incident.
Drive Constellation will begin rolling out to early access partners in the third quarter. For example, Intel Labs, together with the Toyota Research Institute and the Computer Vision Center in Barcelona, designed an open source driving simulator for training self-driving cars called CARLA (Car Learning to Act). More information at http://nvidianews.nvidia.com/.