Autonomous driving may be closer than we think

Tesla’s Autopilot chip supplier NVIDIA on new self-driving system: ‘It’s basically 5 yrs ahead and coming in 2017’ – Electrek

On a conference call with CEO Jen-Hsun Huang following the results, analysts were particularly interested in the company’s push in AI and the automotive industry, especially since Tesla’s started delivering every single one of its vehicles with NVIDIA’s Drive PX2 supercomputer.

Huang offered some very interesting insights into how he sees Tesla’s self-driving program playing out.

He says that by introducing the necessary hardware for full autonomy now, Tesla  “sent a shock wave through the automotive industry”:

“And I think what Tesla has done by launching and having on the road in the very near-future here, a full autonomous driving capability using AI, that has sent a shock wave through the automotive industry. It’s basically five years ahead. Anybody who’s talking about 2021 and that’s just a non-starter anymore. And I think that that’s probably the most significant bit in the automotive industry. I just don’t – anybody who is talking about autonomous capabilities in 2020 and 2021 is at the moment re-evaluating in a very significant way.”

Huang continued by saying that autonomous driving is not a “detection problem” but an “AI problem” and he insists that it’s going to be solved in 2017.

As the article notes, Huang is obviously biased. Still his reasoning here seems a little too specific to just dismiss as marketing fluff. It seems the the work of engineering a functional solution is nearly complete. There are still the nontrivial legal and business model problems to be solved and that probably won’t happen in 2017. But it appears increasingly obvious that this is all going to happen sooner than most people are expecting.