The self-driving EV race is officially on. And as competition begins to pop up globally, joint ventures and partnerships are being struck almost daily as players from tech and legacy automotive rush to pair together in order to get products to the market as quickly as possible.
The latest tie-up comes from Chinese EV manufacturer NIO, who announced it was partnering with chipmaker NVIDIA this weekend to “develop a new generation of automated driving electric vehicles”.
“NIO, a pioneer in China’s premium smart electric vehicle market, and NVIDIA announced today that the automaker has selected the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin™ system-on-a-chip (SoC) for its new generation of electric vehicles, which will offer advanced automated driving capabilities,” a company release on Saturday said.
It continued: “NIO is working to make consumer adoption of smart, performance-packed electric vehicles a widespread reality. At NIO Day, the company’s annual customer event, the EV maker revealed its NVIDIA DRIVE Orin-powered supercomputer, dubbed Adam, which will first appear in the ET7 sedan that will ship in China starting in 2022.
Jensen Huang, NVIDIA founder and CEO, said: “Autonomy and electrification are the key forces transforming the automotive industry. We are delighted to partner with NIO, a leader in the new energy vehicle revolution — leveraging the power of AI to create the software-defined EV fleets of the future.”
William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of NIO, said: “The cooperation of NIO and NVIDIA will accelerate the development of autonomous driving on smart vehicles. NIO’s in-house developed autonomous driving algorithms will be running on four industry-leading NVIDIA Orin processors, delivering an unprecedented 1000+ TOPS in production cars.”
The release continues:
Adam signals a major achievement by NIO in bringing automotive intelligence and autonomous driving to market, safely and reliably. With a centralized, software-defined computing architecture, NIO’s next-generation EVs, like the ET7 sedan, will feature the latest AI-enabled capabilities, which are perpetually upgradable after the point of sale.
NVIDIA Orin is the world’s highest-performance AV and robotics processor. This scalable supercomputer-on-a-chip family delivers an unprecedented 254 trillions of operations per second (TOPS) while also being able to scale down to entry-level ADAS/Level 2 use cases (10 TOPS/5 watts). NIO will feature four high-performance Orin SoCs in each of its EVs to achieve an industry-leading performance of 1,000+ TOPS — delivering the redundancy and diversity necessary for safe autonomous operation.
As the first of NIO’s EVs to feature Orin, the flagship ET7 is a high-performance vehicle that accelerates from zero to 100km in only 3.9 seconds. It also features a new 150kw battery for extended mileage range.
Nio has been one of the many beneficiaries of an EV stock boom that has taken place over the last 18 months. Once seen as barely fighting for survival, with its stock trading at $2.11 less than a year ago, NIO has now ballooned into a $91 billion market cap and a $58 stock price – up about 25x from its lows over the last twelve months alone.