Self-driving car technology getting smarter: CES 2017


The future of car technology isn’t limited to self-driving systems and autonomous vehicles. Cars will someday do much more than take over driving. At some point down the road, they will communicate, listen and, most importantly, learn.

Major car companies and flashy dream cars are the undisputed stars of any auto show, but that’s not the rule at the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas. Companies you might never have heard of are leading the way toward a dramatically different world of mobility. The revolutionary steps they’re taking don’t always involve fancy designs or shiny sheet metal. In some cases, this world-changing technology fits in the palm of your hand, or can be controlled using only your fingertips.

World’s First Self-Driving Car Computer

“It’s not an exaggeration when we talk about artificial intelligence as the technology that will spark an industrial revolution,” said Rob Csongor, vice president and general manager of California-based tech firm Nvidia. The inspiration for this bold announcement just happens to be smaller than your average laptop — and hundreds of times smarter than one, too.

Developed in partnership with Nvidia and the German car-part manufacturing firm of ZF Friedrichshafen, the ZF ProAI is the world’s first self-driving car computer. Approximately $2 billion has been spent developing the system, which can be scaled to manage everything from heavy-duty industrial equipment and trains, to the car or truck sitting in your driveway.

Why should I care? “This is the first serious production approach where we introduce [artificial intelligence] to many industries … It’s scalable, extremely powerful and has deep learning capability,” said ZF’s CEO, Stefan Sommer. Intelligent machines — whether a freight train or a compact car — need massive amounts of computing power to make autonomous driving feasible. “The capability in managing this data is one of the differentiating factors of the future,” Sommer said.

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