From Audi to ZF: Four NVIDIA-Powered Things You Won’t Want to Miss at Detroit Auto Show

by Danny Shapiro

Automation, entertainment and in-vehicle technology are creating so much buzz at this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) — also known as the Detroit Auto Show — that it’s starting to look like a consumer electronics show.

The combination of cutting-edge technology — and sexy sheet metal — makes for quite a spectacle. If you’re in “America’s Comeback City,” doors open to the public starting January 14, 2017. We got a sneak peek, and if you’re looking for excitement, visit the Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and ZF booths.

Here’s why.


The new Audi Q8 boasts dramatic good looks outside…

Audi unveiled three new cars, including the next generation SQ5 sports SUV, the A5/S5 Cabriolet, and the highly anticipated Q8 concept SUV. The first two models use NVIDIA for their Virtual Cockpit, which house info for the driver all in one place, directly behind the steering wheel.

The highlight: the world premiere of the Q8 concept. Coated in a vibrant Bombay blue paint finish the full-size luxury SUV boasts the elegance of a coupe with the functionality of an SUV.  What gets our gears turning, however, is the breadth of integrated tech throughout the vehicle.

... and out.
… and cutting-edge technology inside, thanks to three NVIDIA-powered displays.

The Q8 has three screens in the cockpit. There’s a multi-media touch screen display and a climate control display in the center of the dash board. Directly in front of the driver there’s a second-generation Virtual Cockpit that uses intelligent augmented reality technology. All three displays are powered by NVIDIA, providing an exceptionally precise and smooth visuals.

Also, when the production version of the Q8 comes out, the model will also feature zFAS, which is Audi’s central driver assistance controller for level 3 autonomy, powered by NVIDIA. The first model to use this tech will the 2018 A8, which is slated to hit dealerships later this year.

All this tech, explained explained Scott Keogh, President of Audi America, is about more than just good looks. It’s part of Audi’s effort to create a “25th hour,” to help give commuters their time back, making your Audi, in a sense, a time machine.


The Mercedes Concept EQ.

The highlight here is the Mercedes Concept EQ. First introduced at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the Concept EQ gives us a peek at the next generation of EVs.

Step inside the swoopy SUV, and you’ll find an enormous 24-inch TFT HD screen, which displays all the relevant information needed for the driver. Powered by NVIDIA, this driver-oriented cockpit display is different from the current lineup of production cars. Or anything else you’ve ever seen in a car.

It’s just one example of what  Daimler AG CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche — known as Known as “Dr. Z” — says is the automaker’s focus on four being “connected, autonomous, shared, electric.” That ethos will guide an investment of €10 billion in e-mobility program, which includes charging infrastructure, battery development and ten new battery-electric models by the year 2025.

And as announced at CES last week, Mercedes-Benz will bring to market a product with NVIDIA technology inside, within the next 12 months. Stay tuned.

Volvo Cars

The Hain family take delivery of the first XC90 SUV scheduled for Volvo’s Drive Me program.

Autonomous vehicles have just gone from futuristic to family-centric. During the NAIAS press preview, Mr. Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Car Group invited the Hain family on stage to take delivery of the first XC90 SUV scheduled for Volvo’s Drive Me program.

One hundred XC90s SUVs will be deployed and leased to customers as part of the program, announced in 2016, to learn more about how humans like riding in autonomous vehicles. The brain piloting these vehicles: our DRIVE PX 2 AI supercomputer.

The program is part of Volvo’s effort to use technology to make mobility safer, sustainable and more convenient. “We do things differently at Volvo Cars – we always have,” said Samuelsson. “Our main focus has always been on people and making their lives easier.”

Check out our blog on Volvo’s Drive Me program for more details on how they are using DRIVE PX 2.


On display: the ZF ProAI self-driving system.

Maybe the best example of how pervasive autonomy will soon become, however, comes from ZF, one of the world’s top auto suppliers.

ZF is displaying the ZF ProAI self-driving system, which was part of a joint announcement by ZF and NVIDIA at CES. ZF ProAI is based on the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI computing platform, and will be the first tier 1 production system  for companies building self-driving vehicles.

The intended applications include cars and trucks, as well as forklifts and industrial material handling vehicles. The future, it seems, is will be coming to far more than just the road ahead.

The Detroit Auto Show opens to the public this weekend and runs through Jan. 22. To learn more and book tickets online, please visit