Toyota's Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) will be Drive Constellation's first customer. The manufacturer is already using the NVIDIA Drive AGX Xavier computer (below) to drive autonomous vehicle testing in the real world, and will assist NVIDIA in the development of its simulation and self-driving technologies.
The system includes two distinct solutions based on the cloud. The "Constellation Simulator" server uses NVIDIA GPUs to run the software called Drive Sim, which generates a realistic virtual world to integrate with the sensors of a virtual car. The second server, "Constellation Vehicle", powered by the Drive AGX on-board computer, then processes the simulated sensor data.
"The driving decisions of the Constellation Vehicle are returned in Constellation Simulator, with the goal of performing accurate hardware-in-the-loop bit and timing tests," NVIDIA said. Of course, the goal is to help Toyota and other automakers develop and market self-driving cars that will work safely in the real world.
To facilitate this process, NVIDIA has also unveiled an open platform that works with any driving software called "Safety Force Field" (SFF). It uses sensor data to predict what will happen on the roads and take steps to protect the vehicle and other users. "The SFF framework ensures that these actions will never create, escalate and contribute to a dangerous situation and include the actions necessary to mitigate potential dangers," NVIDIA said.
Rather than trying to model very complex scenarios of the real world, SFF "follows a fundamental principle of avoiding collisions, as opposed to a vast set of rules and expectations." NVIDIA said. It takes into account braking and steering constraints and has been tested in highways and cities simulations that are too dangerous for the real world. "SFF is mathematically designed so that autonomous vehicles with SFF, such as repelling magnets, protect themselves from danger and do not contribute to dangerous situations," said David Nister, NVIDIA VP of Independent Driving.
NVIDIA first announced Drive Constellation a year ago, right after an autonomous Uber vehicle equipped with NVIDIA technology struck and killed a pedestrian. After the accident, the CEO, Jensen Huang, said the company would devote itself to what is "probably the hardest computing technology ever encountered".
Drive Constellation will be available to all developers, said CEO Jensen Huang at the NVIDIA Developer Conference this year. Companies working on self-driving technologies will be able to submit their own simulation scenarios and then see the results on their own computers. "This large-scale validation capability is comparable to the operation of a whole fleet of test vehicles, however, it is able to carry out years of testing in a fraction of the time," the company said in a statement. .