Electronics and Semiconductors

Volvo to use Nvidia’s Drive Orin for self-driving cars

14 April 2021
Volvo’s SPA2 architecture will be used with the Nvidia Drive Orin SoC in autonomous features in future Volvo models. Source: Volvo

Volvo Cars plans to use Nvidia’s Drive Orin system-on-chip (SoC) to power future autonomous Volvo models.

Volvo said it plans to be the first car maker with a global footprint to use the Nvidia Drive Orin in its next generation models based on its SPA2 modular vehicle architecture. The first car to include the SoC will be the Volvo XC90, which is slated for release in 2022.

Volvo will race other vehicle manufacturers to develop an Orin-powered vehicle as four Chinese startups have recently started developing smart, electric fleets using the Drive Orin technology including SAIC, NIO, Li Auto and Xpeng.

Volvo said large amounts of computing power are needed for safe autonomous driving and the Drive Orin SoC can perform 254 tera operations per second (TOPS). Volvo said it will use the Drive Orin chip as the self-driving computer for safe and continuously updated driving. The chip will work with software developed by Volvo and Zenseact as well as backup systems for steering and braking.

The computing power and graphics processing allow sensor suites for self-driving cars as well as lidar technology developed by Luminar, a Volvo partner.

The agreement deepens the relationship between the companies and Volvo previously said it would use the Drive Xavier SoC technology for core computer on cars based on its SPA2 architecture.

The Drive Xavier SoC will manage core functionalities inside the car such as base-software, energy management and driver assistance. It will work together with the Orin, which will be dedicated to computing intense work such as vision and lidar processing and delivering high safety integrity levels for self-driving cars.

Volvo said it is focused on centralized computing in its next generation models, which removes complexity in design. Rather than relying on multiple electronic control units in the car that control individual features and systems, much of the software is now developed in-house and kept in a central computer in the car, allowing for more frequent improvements and over-the-air updates.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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