Smart, NVIDIA-Powered Cars Star at 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

by Danny Shapiro

Sprawling across a fairground the size of 150 soccer fields, the Frankfurt Motor Show opens to the public today, providing one of the world’s great staging grounds for new vehicle unveils and industry announcements.

But despite the show’s size, it’s not hard to find us.

We’re side by side with many of the carmakers and suppliers at the show as they put our AI technology to work solving key challenges facing the transportation industry.

Flagship Audi A8 Makes Show Premiere

Audi’s recently unveiled 2018 A8 — its flagship sedan — will be on display to the public for the first time here. This stunning automobile is the world’s first Level 3 automated vehicle.

The new A8 offers a suite of NVIDIA-powered high-tech features, including AI Traffic Jam Pilot, Remote Park Pilot, Natural Voice Control and Swarm Intelligence, as well as the MIB+ infotainment system, Virtual Cockpit and Android Rear Seat Tablets.

The AI Traffic Jam Pilot uses the NVIDIA-powered zFAS driver assistance system. This enables a true traffic jam assist system, letting the car drive autonomously at speeds up to 60 kph. This car is expected to hit European streets this fall, and arrive in the U.S. in 2018.

World Premiere of Two AI Concept Cars

Audi has had a busy week not only with new production vehicle unveils, but with two new concept cars that envision what we may soon see on the streets in terms of Level 4 and 5 automation coupled with EV technology.

The Audi Elaine is an electric SUV coupe capable of Level 4 autonomy, extending the scope of the Audi AI technology currently in the new A8 production model. The foundation for its Level 4 autonomy will be a more advanced zFAS system capable of Highway Pilot, which is an extension of the Traffic Jam Pilot, allowing for autonomous driving on highways at speeds up to 80 mph.

The Audi Aicon is a design study and technology demonstrator that provides a look at the future of luxury autonomous transportation. With its luxury features, the Aicon concept makes even a long haul a tireless trip. Features include specialized LED interior illumination, swiveling seats, an empathetic electronic vehicle assistant and a suite of electronics for entertainment consumption.

Baidu to Use ZF ProAI Powered by NVIDIA

ZF, one of the industry’s largest automotive suppliers, announced during its press conference that it has partnered with Chinese tech giant Baidu to create solutions for autonomous driving in China. Using the ZF ProAI, this self-driving system is based on the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI car computer.

Baidu’s “Project Apollo,” which NVIDIA is also a part of, includes automakers, tier 1 suppliers, startups, academic institutions and government departments in an effort to speed the adoption of autonomous technologies.

Porsche’s New Cayenne Turbo

Last month, Porsche unveiled its third generation Cayenne, offering a wide variety of technical innovations that were borrowed directly from the newest generation Panamera. This week, Porsche unveiled a performance version, the Cayenne Turbo.

It includes a powerful 12.3-inch full HD touchscreen system. The NVIDIA Tegra-powered navigation and infotainment services include functions and apps that enable drivers to make better use of their time while en route to their destination. Featuring real-time traffic information, as well as Google Earth and Google Street View, the new Cayenne Turbo will make school drop-offs or family road trips an interactive experience.

Autonomous Concept Car Smart Vision EQ fortwo

There’s much more than beautiful sheet metal and advanced technologies on display — so are new business models. Daimler is focused on a new corporate strategy to augment this new shift in transportation that it calls CASE — standing for connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric).

Under the new product and technology brand EQ, smart wanted to introduce a concept for the future of urban mobility called the smart vision EQ fortwo. This vehicle gives an idea of how people will be able to get around town autonomously with innovative communication capabilities and personalization options.

Roborace Brings in Formula E Champion as CEO

The Frankfurt Motor Show isn’t just about introducing new cars that consumers can drive. Its announcements also extend to motorsports, and in this case, the world’s first electric motorsport series, Roborace.

This week, Roborace announced that Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi has joined the team as CEO. Di Grassi, who has competed in Formula One, Formula E and the World Endurance Championship, has been instrumental in building and growing the Formula E series over the past four years and hopes to bring his business experience to the autonomous competition.

For this innovative race circuit, each Robocar is outfitted with a DRIVE PX 2 AI supercomputer to propel it through the very same racetracks that Formula E races on. This race is not a competition of racecar drivers, but rather of software, AI and the engineers behind each Robocar.

The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

To learn more about the show, opening today, and where to find some of the vehicles mentioned, click here. And if we don’t see you in Frankfurt, come meet us at GTC Europe in Munich, slated for October 10-12, where there’s sure to be even more AI cars, trucks and shuttles on display.