Guardian Angel: Why Your Next Car May Have an AI Co-Pilot

by Danny Shapiro

Self-driving cars are meant to keep us safe. But even if you drive yourself, AI could be looking out for you.

If configured to do so, AI, like a guardian angel, could even take over the car.

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang showed how that could work last week, during his keynote at our GPU Technology Conference, in Silicon Valley.

Our AI Co-Pilot technology uses sensor data from the cameras and microphone inside and outside a car to track the environment around the driver.

When the AI notices a problem — perhaps that the driver is looking away from an approaching pedestrian — it could sound an alert.

In the demo, the vehicle’s AI system notices another car is about to run a red light. It then deactivates the throttle for the driver — potentially preventing a collision.

Cloud-to-Car HD Mapping

Another way AI can help keep people out of harm’s way is by helping drivers and cars anticipate what’s ahead with the creation of high-definition maps.

Huang also showed how NVIDIA uses deep learning and the NVIDIA DriveWorks SDK to create HD maps and keep them updated. The video below shows how it works.

A car first drives and scans the world with cameras, radars and lidar. Mapping systems analyze and apply deep learning methods to the data collected through the scans. Through this process, road features are detected, enabling the creation of an HD map.

The finished map is sent back to the car, allowing it to determine the vehicle’s location. The object detection — through DriveWorks deep neural networks — takes place onboard the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI supercomputer in the car, identifying pedestrians, cars, bicycles and other objects.

Whether you’re driving your car, or it’s driving you, AI is making the road safer for everyone.

AI Podcast: Where Deep Learning Will Take Driving Next

Want to hear where deep learning is taking driving next? Check out AI Podcast episode No. 4, featuring Danny Shapiro in conversation with podcast host Michael Copeland.