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NVIDIA Moving Hard Into AI Auto Segment

- By Sangara Narayanan

NVIDIA (NVDA) unveiled its vision for the AI car and launched a new version of SHIELD, one of the most advanced streamers in the market that now supports Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), YouTube, Google Play Movies and VUDU, at the technology conference CES in Las Vegas Thursday.

NVIDIA also announced that it will be working with Audi (NSU.F) to put advanced AI cars on the road by 2020. Both companies will be digging into deep learning to create an AI platform for self-driving cars.

NVIDIA announced partnerships with mapping companies, Here and Zenrin, and two of the world's leading automotive suppliers, ZF and Bosch.

As Tesla (TSLA) races on the one side to create the world's best self-driving technology, NVIDIA is working on the other side and bringing different companies in the automotive segment to create a stand-alone self-driving platform powered by AI. Apple (AAPL) and Google have also moved toward the software side of the self-driving technology, doing away with their plans to build the cars on their own.

NVIDIA also seems to be moving in that direction, which is a huge decision because the company doesn't seem to be satisfied with just building the GPUs that can power AI.

"Besides helping you drive better, our new AI Auto-Pilot enables the car to drive itself, combining input from an array of sensors, HD maps and - thanks to the ability to share data - a far deeper well of experience than even the most seasoned driver.

"We would like to turn your car into an AI, and that by applying this technology we can revolutionize the automobile and bring joy and delight and safety to millions." - NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on AI Co-Pilot

Clearly, that's a huge step up for a company that has focused more on the hardware side of things than the software side. NVIDIA has proved time and again that it is capable of thinking a few years ahead of the competition. It is the current leader in the AI vendor segment with almost every tech major using NVIDIA's products to power AI platforms. And all of this happened because NVIDIA started working on AI products well before it started to become mainstream.

"Cloud GPU computing has shown explosive growth. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft (MSFT) Azure and AliCloud are deploying NVIDIA GPUs for AI, data analytics and HPC." - NVIDIA third-quarter 2017 earnings call

Now, the company wants to utilize that lead and is positioning itself to be a major player in the transportation market, which is all set to be disrupted by AI technologies.

Disclosure: I have no positions in the stock mentioned above and no intention to initiate a position in the next 72 hours.

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This article first appeared on GuruFocus.