by Dan Vivoli

Back about 2000, NVIDIA was gearing up for Comdex and needed a theme.  Remember Comdex?  Cab lines, PC Mag’s Tech Excellence Award Dinner, Microsoft parties…. Ahhh, the memories.  

We were a small company back then, maybe 500 people.  We had just won the first XBox and were on our way to becoming the leader in GPU’s for PC gamers.  But our Quadro business was new. We had no real laptop presence and didn’t even have a GPU for the Mac. Tablets were something you took for a headache. “Smart” and “phone” were never used together in the same sentence.  And we were really still just a one trick pony.

But we had this vision, a dream maybe, that NVIDIA GPU’s would be in EVERYTHING.   So after the normal arguing, table pounding and gnashing of teeth, we came up with our Comdex theme – NVIDIA:  Powering the Next Generation of Digital Devices. 

By devices we meant PCs, workstations, laptops, phones, music players, watches, TVs, cars…anything with a screen.  OK, so I can’t buy an NVIDIA watch today, but a lot of the rest came true.  I recently counted all the stuff I own with NVIDIA technology inside.  Besides concluding that I have way too much stuff, I was blown away by how long the list is:

  • 3 PC’s
  • 1 Power Mac
  • 3 MacBooks (my kids)
  • 2 laptops (one is my wife’s)
  • 1 Zune
  • 2 Apple TV’s
  • 1 XBox
  • 2 PS3s
  • 1 Audi S6

That last item in this list of 16 one isn’t a typo. My new S6 is equipped with Audi’s award winning NVIDIA based MMI III system.

My precious

Yep, true to our tradeshow prediction 10 years ago, NVIDIA is fast becoming a major supplier of processors for cars. Makes sense, really. Nav systems are all going 3D. The next-generation Tegra based Audis (sadly not mine – guess I’ll have to upgrade) have full-on Google Earth built into the nav system. Most cars are moving to multiple screens for entertainment – more GPU goodness. Dashboards are being replaced by panels. And there are almost an infinite number of driver assistance applications perfectly fit for the GPU.

So, NVIDIA is already in or coming to Audis, VWs, Peugeots, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Fiats and Bentleys near you. And there are many more brands where we’ll be which haven’t been announced yet. Pretty cool.

Turns out that over the past 10 years, NVIDIA GPUs are in all manner of planes, trains and automobiles. Even F22 and F35 fighter jets have avionics driven by multiple GPUs!

Anyway, I digress. I love my Audi. A big shout out to Mathias and all our friends in Germany who built a great car for me. And thanks to the NVIDIA engineers who built a great GPU for it.

And I love all the other stuff I have with NVIDIA inside. See, the little known secret is that at NVIDIA, we’re building GPUs for our own stuff!