At CES 2015 Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced a “Superchip” the Tegra X1. The processor has some chops to back this claim as it’s running Maxwell, which is their desktop graphics card processing units. Th Tegra K1 is running a 256-core GPU on top of an 8-core central processing unit which, together, is capable of a teraflop of computational power.
This is big new for the automotive game as well as Chromebooks which Nvidia has already been dabbling in. The car is the biggest mobile device you’ll own and autonomous cars are proving that we’ll need the extra computation power. Since Nvida has its roots in Gaming the new addition to the Tegra family will be energy efficient yet powerful enough to bring console and PC grade graphics to handheld devices. Last years Nvidia’s K1 based on their Kepler architecture yielded devices like Nvidia’s Shield whose unique form factor did push the boundaries of gaming.
We are getting ahead of our selves talking about mobile, we won’t be hearing about devices running the X1 until much later this year. What Nvidia was showing off were graphic simulation of cars driving through digital environments and identification of possible hazards. WE also saw some intense graphic manipulation of cockpit graphics which was meant to show the possibilities to automotive manufacturers who Nvidia is surely wooing to pick up what is sure to be the brains of our next generation smartcars. The most interesting of the demos was the Drive CX which is a small computer system capable of processing 17 megapixels simultaneously which is roughly two 4K screens. To give you an idea of how far ahead, today’s current “Smart Cars” process around 1 Megapixel. Autonomous cars need to construct a moving environment in which to move through while being self aware. Today’s news is a big step in the right direction to achieving this goal.
Nvidia Drive CX is not only a virtual cockpit, it also is a full featured, super customizable infotainment experience which includes: media integration, text-to-speech, navigation and voice control. The new platform is meant to supports any major OS including Linux, QNX as well as Android. What’s interesting about the inclusion of Android, which you’ll see at the end of the video below, is that this could mean more than just supporting Android Auto, this could mean running Android…which is also rumored to be in Android M.
The Nvidia Tegra X1 Processor will be available to automotive customers in the 2nd quarter of 2015, but the reference design below is available today.