June 26, 2022
Chinese self-driving tech company Pony.ai has confirmed that its new Autonomous Drive Controller (ADC), powered by Nvidia’s Drive Orin system-on-a-chip (SoC) is ready for mass production later this year.
The company – which has offices in Guangzhou, Beijing and Fremont, California – has been road testing the ADC since the start of the year on highways and urban roads in China, optimizing it to run at low latency and with real-time performance.
And it says some customers have already been allowed to sample the new software.
The latest ADC offers single or dual Nvidia Drive Orin configurations, delivering 254 and 508 trillion operations per second (TOPS), respectively. This makes it the world’s highest-performance automotive-grade SoC, and it is designed to handle large numbers of applications and deep neural networks simultaneously.
When combined with hardware that includes a forward-facing camera, millimeter wave radar and a long-range Lidar, the ADC allows vehicles to safely perform several maneuvers, including following traffic and merging during congestion, automatic lane-changing to follow navigation and overtaking.
The Level 4 tech is also claimed to be able to safely handle U-turns, identify traffic signals, negotiate construction zones and accidents and identify and interact with vulnerable road users, as well as cope with on- and off-ramp merges. Its range of capabilities was revealed in a testing video released by Pony.ai.
In addition, by using multiple configurations with one or more Drive Orin processors and Nvidia Ampere architecture GPUs, Pony.ai says it has created an ADC product range that can be scalably deployed across the likes of self-driving trucks and robotaxis, accelerating the company’s vision of a robust, mass-production platform for autonomous vehicles (AVs).
“By co-developing a turnkey computing platform with Nvidia, Pony.ai has gained a deep understanding of the characteristics and advantages of Nvidia Drive to rapidly advance our time to market,” said co-founder and CEO James Peng. “The impressive real-time performance of Pony’s ADC enables a wide range of applications and deployment.”
Among the first vehicles to be fitted with the latest tech will be the Toyota Sienna Autono-Maas (S-AM), a seven-seater that will be deployed within Pony.ai’s robotaxi operations in the first half of 2023.
Earlier this year Pony.ai became the first autonomous driving company in China to receive a taxi license, allowing the company to start charging for rides in its self-driving cabs in Guangzhou.
The company has also been granted a permit that allows it to run its robotaxis in Beijing without a safety operator in the driver’s seat.
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