CES 2015 is kicking into high gear right now but lets take a look at one of the earlier participants of the day. Graphic wizards NVIDIA kicked off their exhibition today with the unveiling of their new Tegra X1 mobile superchip.
There are many reasons to why the Tegra X1 is called a mobile superchip. It is an octa-core 64-bit CPU with a ridiculous 256 cores! The design of the Tegra X1 is based on Maxwell architecture, currently used in the top range of PC graphic cards, with the performance to go with it. The real kicker is that the Tegra X1 has 1 Teraflops of computing power and does so while occupying a slice of silicon no larger than a thumbnail and only 10W of power. To put things into perspective, the Tegra X1 is capable of running the Elemental, an Unreal Engine 4 based game, a feat that was achieved using a desktop processor with 300W of power . What’s more, it is capable of handling 4k video at 60Hz H.265 and VP9. Mobile, energy efficient and a beast in performance. Mobile processor manufacturers have a real threat on their hands now.
So what can a mobile superchip be used for in the coming years? A smartphone? Tablet? Maybe even a laptop? nVidia pulled this out of left field….cars! That’s right, NVIDIA has also revealed the Tegra X1 will first be deployed to power a new computer for cars, dubbed the NVIDIA Drive. Two variants have been announced; the Drive CX cockpit computer and the more advanced Drive PX . The Drive CX revolves around powering multiple high resolution displays to generate a customizable virtual cockpit, navigate with 3D maps and power infotainment systems, with lighting capabilities up to 17 million pixels.
The Drive PX is perhaps a more radical step forward as it aims to bring autopilot for cars a reality. CEO Jen-Hsun Huang gave us a clear picture of what to expect when he demonstrated navigating a virtual car through a virtual garage all through his smartphone. The Drive PX will have a combined total of 2 Teraflops of processing power thanks to the dual Tegra X1 processors that will then be linked to 12 HD cameras.
With such high resolution imagery made available, the Drive PX takes advantage of them using the Deep Neural Network sensor system that essentially allows your car to distinguish objects to a high level of detail, even telling apart car types, road signs and even emergency vehicles. This allows your car to develop an “awareness” for the things around you when you drive, allowing it to react accordingly such as slowing down when a pedestrian is crossing and stopping at a red light.
The Drive PX also comes with a Surround-Vision feature that integrates input from all 12 HD cameras positioned along the car to develop a 360-degree view of your car. Surround-vision and the Deep Neural Network are already great innovations and will make any driving experience a joy but NVIDIA did not stop there. They also introduced an Auto-Valet system for the Drive PX where you can quite literally get your car to come pick you up once you are done having dinner. Remember Knight Rider? It’s just like that, without the talking and spy-like gadgets of course. But after what we have seen here today, it might not be too far off.