Nvidia’s latest automotive computer is fast

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Chipmaker Nvidia showcased a high-performance automotive computer designed to advance processing of in-vehicle entertainment and automated driving functions.

The technology was unveiled Tuesday at the company’s GTC event in San Jose, Calif. Analysts say the computer is designed to keep Nvidia ahead of rival Intel and its Mobileye automotive chip subsidiary.

Nvidia’s latest tech, called Drive Thor, can control automated driving, driver-assist systems, infotainment, digital instrument clusters, occupant-monitoring and more from a single computer. This permits multiple vehicle functions on a single system-on-chip instead of spreading them across several electronic control units, lowering costs and streamlining development.

Drive Thor follows other Nvidia tech advances that debuted this year, including a graphics processing unit called Hopper and a central processing unit called Grace.

“What they’ve done with Thor is taken Grace and Hopper and put those onto a single SOC along next-generation technology they haven’t detailed yet,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights.

Drive Thor has a processing speed of 254 trillion operations per second, compared with 176 for Mobileye’s most recent IQ Ultra automotive computer, Abuelsamid said. Qualcomm hasn’t yet announced the processing speed of its latest Snapdragon Digital Chassis.

“I expect Qualcomm will be announcing something fairly soon, and Snapdragon Digital Chassis is getting its first production application this year,” Abuelsamid said.

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