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NVIDIA’s virtual proving ground for validating autonomous vehicles

NVIDIA announced the NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation autonomous vehicle simulation platform is now available. The cloud-based platform enables millions of miles to be driven in virtual worlds across a broad range of scenarios, from routine driving to rare and dangerous situations, with greater efficiency, cost-effectiveness and safety than what is possible to achieve in the real world.

First introduced at GTC last year, DRIVE Constellation is a data centre solution comprised of two side-by-side servers. One server, DRIVE Constellation Simulator, uses NVIDIA GPUs running DRIVE Sim software to generate the sensor output from the virtual car driving in a virtual world. The other server, DRIVE Constellation Vehicle, contains the DRIVE AGX Pegasus AI car computer, which processes the simulated sensor data.

The driving decisions from DRIVE Constellation Vehicle are fed back into DRIVE Constellation Simulator, enabling bit-accurate, timing-accurate hardware-in-the-loop testing. The simulation will become a key component for third-party and regulatory autonomous vehicle standards. Safety agencies such as TÜV SÜD are already using the platform to formulate their self-driving validation standards.

Cloud-Based, End-to-End Workflow

On stage at GTC, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang demonstrated the scalability of the DRIVE Constellation platform seamlessly performing driving tests in the cloud. Developers anywhere in the world can submit simulation scenarios to DRIVE Constellation data centres and evaluate the results from their desks.

This large-scale validation capability is comparable to operating an entire fleet of test vehicles, however, it is able to accomplish years of testing in a fraction of the time.

Open Platform

DRIVE Constellation is an open platform into which ecosystem partners can integrate their environment models, vehicle models, sensor models and traffic scenarios. By incorporating datasets from the broader simulation ecosystem, the platform can generate comprehensive, diverse and complex testing environments.

To this end, Cognata, a simulation company, announced today that its scenario and traffic model can be supported on DRIVE Constellation. With Cognata’s traffic models, developers can define a number of vehicles and other road users, as well as their behaviour, based on real-world traffic behaviour.

IPG Automotive is another ecosystem partner working with NVIDIA to enable high-fidelity vehicle models. Its simulation software, CarMaker, is used to create virtual vehicle prototypes, including models of all main vehicle subsystems. Developers can include test vehicle responses to changes in steering, road surface, suspension, powertrain and vehicle control systems for function development.

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