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The self-driving race cars of Roborace will have a brain from Nvidia

The self-driving race cars of Roborace will have a brain from Nvidia

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Chief Design Officer Daniel Simon / Roborace Ltd.

The autonomous race cars in the upcoming Roborace driverless racing series will use Nvidia's Drive PX 2 supercomputer as a brain.

The PX 2, which was announced back at CES in January, uses 12 CPU cores to produce eight teraflops of computing power and 24 trillion operations a second. It can combine information from a wide array of sensors, including radar, LIDAR, cameras, GPS, and high-definition maps. Roughly translated, that means it's a very, very smart car.

Driving on a known entity like a race track should make things a little easier for the car, but since they'll be trying to get to the finish line as fast as possible — 20 cars will compete in a one-hour race — it's not nearly as simple as driving down the highway.

Nvidia has been aggressively developing its autonomous driving tech and its CES keynote this year focused heavily on the topic. Getting involved with Roborace serves up a great publicity platform for the company, and operating in a controlled environment like a race track could act as a strong development testbed for the Drive PX 2. The same technology will also be used by Volvo in a real-world autonomous car trial in Gothenburg, Sweden next year.