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NVIDIA Ups the Game, Joins Mercedes on Self-Drive Project

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NVIDIA's NVDA latest collaboration with Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz to develop an in-vehicle computing system and AI-computing infrastructure is expected to boost presence of the former in the self-driving vehicle market.

The architecture is expected to be deployed across Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation vehicles in 2024, which will be enriched with upgradable automated driving functions.

The NVIDIA DRIVE Infrastructure solutions will be leveraged to develop the models, enabling data-driven and deep neural network development to adjust to the requirements of the regions where the cars will operate in.

The partnership strengthens NVIDIA’s presence in the autonomous vehicles and other automotive electronics space. It also threatens other chipmakers like Intel INTC, Qualcomm QCOM and DXC Technology DXC.

Markedly, the autonomous vehicles industry flaunts one of the most lucrative prospects today. A Market Data Forecast report indicates that the self-driving cars market is expected to hit $56.21 billion in 2020 and reach $220.44 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 36.5%.

Moreover, the coronavirus situation is now expected to hasten the adoption of driverless vehicles to pick up passengers, transport goods and others because of their capability to limit the spread of the infection.

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Intel, Qualcomm & DXC: Major Competitors

Intel, thanks to its Mobileye acquisition, has become a close competitor to NVIDIA in the self-driving space. The low power consumption of Mobileye chips and their ability to create maps for self-driving systems via its Road Experience Management platform have helped Intel establish a footprint in the market.

Moreover, recently, Intel announced two new agreements in China and South Korea, with the SAIC and Daegu Metropolitan City, respectively. These agreements are likely to expand this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s global footprint in driver-assistance systems and autonomous mobility-as-a-service.

Qualcomm’s foray into the autonomous vehicle market is also a growing cause of concern for NVIDIA and Intel. In January, the company unveiled the first-of-its-kind automotive platform — Snapdragon Ride — which enables automakers to transform their vehicles into self-driving cars using AI.

Notably, Qualcomm has also signed an extended partnership with General Motors GM to deliver avant-garde self-driving technologies with a diversified portfolio of automotive solutions. Moreover, vehicle partners — Audi, Ford and Ducati — had once demonstrated how Qualcomm's 9150 C-V2X chipsets can be used between vehicles for tasks like negotiating the right of way. Qualcomm currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.

Another company, which is vying for a position in the self-driving vehicle space is DXC Technology. The company’s acquisition of digital innovator, Luxoft, was a huge step in this direction. Luxoft already has partners like Daimler. The combination of Luxoft’s digital engineering capabilities and DXC’s technological expertise is expected to strengthen the latter’s presence in the automotive industry.

Markedly, in January, Luxoft announced a partnership with LG Electronics to accelerate the development of large-scale series production systems. These include digital cockpit systems, rear-seat entertainment, cabin and center stack display, in-vehicle infotainment, and others. DXC currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Nonetheless, NVIDIA currently is on a firm footing in the autonomous vehicle market. Notably, the company’s focus on incorporating AI into the cockpit for infotainment systems is allowing it to grow its autonomous driving revenues. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company expects its automotive TAM to be $30 billion by 2025, which comprises $25 billion for driving, $3 billion for training/development of deep neural networks and $2 billion for validation and testing. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

NVIDIA’s Auto Partnerships Hold the Key

NVIDIA is working with more than 320 automakers, tier-one suppliers, automotive research institutions, HD mapping companies and start-ups to develop and deploy AI systems for self-driving vehicles.

Interestingly, around this time last year, NVIDIA had collaborated with Volvo to develop a scalable AI-based autonomous driving system using the Drive AGX Pegasus computing board of the former.

Uber has been using NVIDIA’s AI computing technology in its fleet of self-driving vehicles for more than two years now. Meanwhile, Volkswagen has been working on creating new cockpit experiences and improving safety for its future vehicles by using NVIDIA’s DRIVE IX AI platform.

Aurora’s Level 4 and 5 self-driving hardware platform leverages the NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier processor.

Further, the company’s partnership with Baidu BIDU and German auto supplier, ZF Friedrichshafen, to build a “production-ready AI autonomous vehicle platform” specially designed for the Chinese market is a positive.

Additionally, Toyota has extended its partnership with NVIDIA to ramp up its autonomous vehicle development program.

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