Nvidia, best known for its ubiquitous line of GeForce graphics processing units, has been rapidly diversifying its operations since 2014. The company has become more deeply invested in data centers, artificial intelligence, and mobile computing. Nvidia has, since 2015, been developing hardware and software for autonomous vehicles, mainly its Drive PX series hardware.
The partnership is not the first for Nvidia, which partnered with Toyota
Like Toyota, Mercedes will use Nvidia's Drive PX series hardware and announced that it intends to have all of its vehicles operating with Nvidia's technology by 2024. The paramount feature of the partnership is the capability for the fleet of autonomous cars to update over-the-air, with vehicles downloading new software updates wirelessly in a similar manner to Tesla's
"This new platform will become an efficient, centralized, and software-defined system in our future Mercedes-Benz vehicles. NVIDIA's AI computing architecture will help us streamline our journey towards autonomous driving," said Daimler chair and Mercedes-Benz head Ola Källenius.
Mercedes had previously struck an alliance with BMW (FWB: BMW) after the two german automakers felt the pressure of the rising trend of autonomous vehicles. The partnership was struck with the intent of the two companies to develop autonomous cars side by side in the hopes of keeping pace with the changing market. Still, there never seemed to be much enthusiasm behind the partnership. Phil Magney of VSI Labs, speaking with EE Times, commented, "Both BMW and Mercedes have taken a half-hearted approach. When they felt their survival was threatened by AVs, they reluctantly joined the effort. Now that AVs are a less [sic] of an imminent threat, they don't feel compelled to talk that talk as much."