When Volkswagen's next-generation bus arrives, as the VW ID Buzz, it will not only bring electric power to the iconic VW people mover, it will also include autonomous driving capability, thanks in part to technology provided under a new partnership with Nvidia.
Nvidia is probably best known for its powerful PC video graphics adapter cards which provide a critical edge in first-person shooter-type action video games, but the company is also applying that same kind of high-speed real time processing capability to driver assistance systems.
So if the original VW bus might have been infused with various natural herbs, the new one will be imbued with artificial intelligence aim at assisting the driver.
“Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the car,” said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. “Autonomous driving, zero-emission mobility and digital networking are virtually impossible without advances in AI and deep learning."
For its part, Nvidia recognized the potential to apply its know-how to a whole new market for processing power. “In just a few years, every new vehicle will be expected to have AI assistants for voice, gesture and facial recognition as well as augmented reality,” said Nvidia founder Jensen Huang. “Together, we are building a new generation of cars that are safer, more enjoyable to ride in than anything that has come before, and accessible to everyone.”
You'll recall that the I.D. Buzz is part of Volkswagen's I.D. family of electric vehicles that will gradually introduce autonomous driving starting in 2020. The company plans more than 20 fully electric vehicle models by 2025.