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05-04-2018 | Driver Assistance Systems | News | Article

Nvidia Showcases Virtual Test System for Self-Driving Cars

Patrick Schäfer

Nvidia has showcased the "Drive Constellation Simulation System". The cloud-based system enables virtual testing of autonomous vehicles using photorealistic simulation.

The computing platform is based on two different servers. The first server runs Nvidia Drive Sim software to simulate sensors such as cameras, lidar and radar, while the second contains a powerful Nvidia Drive PegasusAI car computer that runs the complete autonomous vehicle software stack and processes the simulated data as if it were coming from the sensors of a car driving on the road. The simulation server is powered by Nvidia GPUs, each generating a stream of simulated sensor data, which feed into the Drive Pegasus for processing. Driving commands from Drive Pegasus are fed back to the simulator, completing the digital feedback loop. This "hardware-in-the-loop" cycle, which occurs 30 times a second, is used to validate that algorithms and software running on Pegasus are operating the simulated vehicle correctly. 

Drive Sim software generates photoreal data streams to create a vast range of different testing environments and different weather situations. Glare at different times of the day, limited vision at night; and all different types of road surfaces and terrain can be simulated. In particular, dangerous situations can be scripted in simulation to test the autonomous car’s ability to react. "Deploying production self-driving cars requires a solution for testing and validating on billions of driving miles to achieve the safety and reliability needed for customers", says Rob Csongor, vice president and general manager of Automotive at Nvidia.

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