Nvidia: How the chip manufacturer attacks Tesla

Beware Tesla, this chip manufacturer could be dangerous to you!

With the Chinese brand Nio, the next manufacturer is now using Nvidia chips for autonomous driving. Things are slowly getting tight for Tesla.

E.First Daimler, then Hyundai, now the Chinese electrical company Nio and soon also China’s largest car company SAIC. All of these companies relied on Orin chips from Nvidia for their autonomous ambitions. The Californian IT company uses its know-how from the gaming sector and lets its findings flow into the automotive sector. This development could be dangerous for one person in particular: the former ally Tesla. Together, the two US companies developed the first autopilot for Elon Musk’s e-cars, now those are cooperating with Nvidia, which has been accused of being left behind for years.

Million sales in the automotive sector

You could now think that the automotive sector plays a key role in Nvidia’s product portfolio. Not even close! In 2019, the automotive division’s share of sales was less than an eighth of what the Americans earned with their core competency in gaming.

Alexa for the car

* Prices as of November 20, 2020

Nevertheless, sales of 700 million US dollars (10 percent more than 2018) in the automotive sector can be seen. So the numbers show that Nvidia is fully committed to growth in its automotive division.

Mercedes in future with Nvidia Drive

Mercedes wants to get vehicles with Nvidia Drive on the road by 2024.

© Daimler AG

The new big partners in the automotive industry come in handy. With Daimler, the first German manufacturer is getting the Americans’ Orin chips under the tin on a large scale and is planning to break with a practice that is common in this country. In the future, the umpteen control units in the cars with the star are to be bundled in one control unit. This is the only way to catch up with the competition when it comes to autonomous driving. Tesla has been using this approach for years and is driving it around in front of the Europeans, with the Nvidia Drive platform that should change (AUTO BILD reported). At the same time, a separate Mercedes operating system is to be created with which the vehicle functions can exchange even more data with one another. Nvidia chips were also used in models from Audi and Co. before, but the holistic approach from Daimler makes it special.

First Hyundai models by 2022

But in addition to Daimler secured the November 2020 also the Hyundai Group a cooperation agreement with Nvidia. Here, too, it was decided to use the Nvidia Drive platform. Here, too, a separate operating system is to be created, and here too, in addition to infotainment, the possibilities in the field of autonomous driving are highlighted. The Koreans are really accelerating with the implementation. While Daimler is not planning to use the first models until 2024, Hyundai would like to see all models of the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands equipped with the new Orin chipsets from 2022 (AUTO BILD reported).

Nio makes Tesla sweat with Nvidia

Nio ET7

In the ET7 from Nio, four Nvidia chips are supposed to make Tesla legs.


China’s flagship electric car maker Nio also relies on American knowledge. Since more is almost always better, four Nvidia chips from the drive platform are used in the new flagship ET7. The processing units together create a performance of over 1000 “Tera Operations Per Second” (TOPS). An enormous number of calculations that even Tesla, with its currently 144 TOPS from four processors, should make a sweat. For a better understanding: The A14 bionic chip in the new iPad Air is said to have up to 11 TOPS machine learning performance. According to Nvidia, the Orin chip is the “most powerful processor for autonomous vehicles and robots worldwide”. China’s largest car manufacturer SAIC also wants to use the Nvidia Drive platform to advance its e-cars in terms of autonomous driving.

Opportunity for manufacturers but remains a problem

So Nvidia is pushing its processors with a lot of pressure on the supplier market. The step seems logical After all, the company can look back on decades of experience in calculating graphical environments, and autonomous driving requires just such know-how. For manufacturers, installing US chips is an opportunity to catch up with the competition without expensive development work. However, this will not solve a core problem: Dependence on outside companies. While Tesla created its own development resources and generated knowledge in its company after the break with Nvidia, competitors have to continue to rely on third-party companies. But it is probably the only remaining chance to stay on the ball. VW, for example, has been trying for years to catch up with a lot of money and new staff, what has come of it so far can be seen in the Golf 8 and ID.3. A step in the right direction, but an overall system that doesn’t even come close to the big competition from the USA when it comes to networking.

Attack on Tesla has begun

So it remains exciting in the battle for future market shares. It remains to be seen whether manufacturers who develop themselves will drive better, or whether those who acquire certain skills will be successful. At Daimler and Hyundai, the first fruits of the cooperation with Nvidia can already be seen in the near future. It remains to be seen whether it will be enough for Tesla’s throne. The class leader shouldn’t feel too confident when it comes to networking. The former ally has gathered new companions around him and is planning the attack!


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