Automotive supplier powerhouse Robert Bosch GmbH has announced that it is working with Nvidia to develop artificial-intelligence-based self-driving systems for mass market cars. Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner unveiled the collaboration during his keynote address at the 2017 edition of Bosch ConnectedWorld, the company's annual IoT (Internet of Things) conference, in Berlin.

Now in its fourth year, Bosch ConnectedWorld is one of the world’s largest conferences on IoT, covering many industries in addition to automotive. Some 2700 developers, business reps, and journalists attended the conference. Besides Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner, the list of around 130 speakers included Timotheus Höttges (CEO of Deutsche Telekom), Edzard Overbeek (CEO of Here), and Dr. Jen-Hsun Huang (CEO of Nvidia).

The AI self-driving car computer built on Nvidia's deep learning software and hardware enables vehicles to be trained on the complexities of driving, operated autonomously, and updated over the air with new features and capabilities.

The computer can apply machine-learning methods to guide self-driving cars through even complex traffic situations, or ones that are new to the car. “We are teaching the car how to maneuver through road traffic by itself,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Bosch board of management, at the company’s industry conference on the internet of things.

Cars already use Bosch sensors to monitor their surroundings, but the addition of artificial intelligence will enable interpretation of those readings to make predictions about the behavior of other road users. “Automated driving makes roads safer, and artificial intelligence is the key to making that happen. We are making the car smart,” continued Denner.

For instance, cars that have their turn signals on are more likely to change lanes than those that don’t. As a result, a self-driving car with AI can recognize and assess complex traffic situations, such as when an oncoming vehicle executes a turn, and factor these into its own driving.

"Self-driving cars is a challenge that can finally be solved with recent breakthroughs in deep learning and artificial intelligence," added Jen-Hsun Huang, Founder and CEO, Nvidia. "Using [the] Drive PX AI car computer, Bosch will build automotive-grade systems for the mass production of autonomous cars. Together we will realize a future where autonomous vehicles make mobility safe and accessible to all."

The Bosch AI car computer system will be based on next-generation Nvidia Drive PX technology with Xavier, the upcoming AI car superchip that Nvidia says is the world's first single-chip processor designed to achieve SAE Level 4 automated driving. It is expected to go into production by the beginning of the next decade—at the latest, according to Bosch. 

The Xavier’s high level of performance is necessary to handle the massive amount of computation required for the tasks self-driving vehicles must perform. These tasks include: running deep neural nets to sense surroundings, understanding the 3D environment, localizing themselves on an HD map, predicting the behavior and positioning of other objects, and computing car dynamics and a safe path forward.

The computer stores whatever it learns while driving in artificial neural networks. Following further road testing, the artificially generated knowledge structures can be transmitted to any number of other AI onboard computers in an update.

“We want automated driving to be possible in every situation,” said Denner. “As early as the next decade, driverless cars will be also a part of everyday life. Bosch is advancing automated driving on all technological fronts. We aim to assume a leading role in the field of artificial intelligence, too.”

Artificial intelligence would play a key role in all areas of business at Bosch—not just mobility, he added: “Just ten years from now, it will be virtually impossible to conceive of a Bosch product that does not involve artificial intelligence in some way. The products will either have it or be created with its help.”

Earlier this year, the company announced it was establishing a Center for Artificial Intelligence. Bosch is investing €300 million in expanding its expertise in this area.