Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) is the big story at GTC Europe — a conference in Germany dedicated to graphics chip computing. Nvidia gave the keynote and announced its new Drive PX Pegasus platform.
This is a huge leap forward in technology that the company says is capable of Level 5 autonomous driving, a fully self-driving car. Nvidia is expecting the Drive PX Pegasus platform to be used first in driverless robotaxis, and it has over 25 partners working on that goal.
NVDA stock got a big boost on the news, rising nearly 4% in after hours trading.
Drive PX Pegasus
Nvidia chose GTC Europe to announce Drive PX Pegasus, the next generation of the company’s autonomous driving platform. And Pegasus is a huge leap forward.
In the announcement, Nvidia says Drive PX Pegasus is capable of over 320 trillion operations per second. That makes it more than 10 times more powerful than the previous generation Drive PX 2, the autonomous driving technology adopted by Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) for its electric cars starting in October, 2016.
Drive PX Pegasus is so advanced that it’s aimed at moving to completely self-driving cars. The kind that don’t even have a steering wheel for a human driver. Initially, that would make robotaxis a target market, while auto makers, consumers and legislation continue to slowly move towards Level 5 autonomous production cars.
At the heart of Nvidia’s Drive PX Pegasus are four high-performance AI processors featuring embedded GPUs. There are also a pair of next-generation discrete GPUs onboard, designed specifically for deep learning and computer vision algorithms.
Making the new Pegasus platform even more attractive to automakers is its size. Current Level 5 prototype cars require a huge amount of space dedicated to the onboard computers needed to power the system. That’s one of the reasons why minivans and SUVs make such attractive test vehicles. But NVDA says the Drive PX Pegasus delivers the performance of a 100-server data center in a form factor “roughly the size of a licence plate.”
Nvidia says its new system will also “drastically reduce energy consumption and cost.” That is especially important for Tesla and other electric car makers, who need to squeeze as much range as possible out of their batteries.
When Will Drive PX Pegasus Be Available?
That’s the big question. Nvidia’s Drive PX2 is letting automakers like Tesla move forward rapidly in their self-driving aspirations, but the kind of power Pegasus offers will be a game-changer. Its extremely compact size and power efficiency makes it even more attractive. So when will auto makers be able to get their hands on the technology?
Nvidia says Drive PX Pegasus will be available to its automotive partners in the second half of 2018.
The Impact on NVDA Stock
Despite a resurgent Advanced Micro Device, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMD), Nvidia graphics cards are still the choice of gamers, and it holds 70% of the GPU market. Its data center business is going gangbusters and GPU-driven AI is only becoming more important to big tech companies. With Drive PX Pegasus, Nvidia is pulling ahead of competition like Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) in self-driving car technology — what promises to be an area of explosive growth in coming years as autonomous cars go mainstream.
In other words, keep an eye on NVDA stock because the company and its GPUs are powering some of the hottest trends now and for decades to come.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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