If you’ve seen an NVIDIA keynote at a tech event over the past two years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the company is very interested in automotive use-cases for its products. Now it’s partnering with Volkswagen to bring artificial intelligence (A.I.) to cars and beyond.
“Artificial intelligence is the key to the digital future of the Volkswagen Group. We want to develop and deploy high-performance A.I. systems ourselves. This is why we are expanding our expert knowledge required. Cooperation with NVIDIA will be a major step in this direction,” said Dr. Martin Hofmann, CIO of the Volkswagen Group.
NVIDIA already works with Volvo and VW-owned Audi on self-driving car projects. Neither NVIDIA nor VW have commented on plans for A.I. beyond cars, but in theory the technology could service VW’s Data Lab. Launched in 2014, Data Lab doesn’t publicly have a direct focus; VW only says it involves universities and “technology partners” creating “new IT solutions in the fields of Big Data and the Internet of Things.”
This isn’t the first time VW and NVIDIA have partnered. Earlier this year, VW signed a deal that would put NVIDIA technology behind the dashboard of all 12 VW-owned brands (including Audi). The “A.I.-Cockpit” developed by NVIDIA aims to help drivers, rather than take over for them completely. Like any good digital assistant, NVIDIA’s in-car platform wants to anticipate your needs: if you’re stuck in traffic, for example, it may do things like ramp the air-conditioning up or launch your favorite podcast.
With an A.I.-powered car, VW and NVIDIA will generate a ton of useful data, which VW apparently feels it can use for purposes beyond helping drivers. Hopefully, this is all a precursor to VW opening up its platform to engineers in the open-source community. And in the meantime, the companies face hearty competition from a number of tech giants, including Google, Tesla, Apple, and others.