Autonomous truck technology is making its way across the Great White North.
Self-driving trucking startup NuPort Robotics is leveraging NVIDIA DRIVE to develop autonomous driving systems for middle-mile short-haul routes. The Canada-based company is working with the Ontario government as well as Canadian Tire on a two-year pilot project to accelerate the commercial deployment of this technology.
With the rapid rise of ecommerce and next-day delivery around the world, demand for trucking has skyrocketed, and Canada is no exception. The Canadian trucking industry delivers 66.5 million shipments a year, generating more than $32 billion in revenue.
At the same time, driver shortages continue to increase, with more than 60,000 trucking positions unfilled in 2019.
By developing autonomous trucking with the high-performance compute of NVIDIA DRIVE, NuPort can help address this gap with safer, more efficient technology.
Self-driving semis require centralized compute capable of processing an array of deep neural networks (DNNs) to navigate any type of delivery route.
NVIDIA DRIVE is architected for redundancy and safety to power DNNs running simultaneously in the vehicle. The platform is scalable, capable of enabling level 4 and level 5 autonomous systems, such as NuPort’s autonomous trucking solution.
NuPort plans to develop upcoming generations of its platform on NVIDIA DRIVE Orin, which is capable of more than 250 trillion operations per second (TOPS) while achieving systemic safety standards such as ISO 26262 ASIL-D.
NuPort is also leveraging NVIDIA DRIVE OS and DriveWorks software for open and easily scalable self-driving development.
“We’re able to get everything we need in one solution,” said NuPort CEO Raghavender Sahdev. “By using NVIDIA, we have a base we can build off of, significantly reducing our development time as opposed to starting from scratch.”
No Longer Stuck in the Middle Mile
NuPort is working to provide an autonomous driving solution for the middle mile — the short-haul shuttle runs that semi-trucks make between distribution centres, warehouses and terminals.
The pilot with the Ontario government through Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) and automotive and recreation retailer Canadian Tire involves two semi-tractor trailers retrofitted with NuPort’s autonomous driving platform in addition to high-resolution sensors. The human-supervised trucks are transporting goods between a Canadian Tire distribution center in the Toronto area and nearby rail terminals.
With the high-performance, energy-efficient NVIDIA DRIVE at the core of NuPort’s system, Sahdev expects to significantly improve both safety and efficiency on these middle mile routes.
“NVIDIA DRIVE is very powerful and allows us to run our algorithms efficiently,” he said. “Having a proper, consolidated platform rather than trying out different GPUs and sensors has accelerated this process.”