Ready for Prime Time: Plus to Deliver Autonomous Truck Systems Powered by NVIDIA DRIVE to Amazon

Autonomous trucking company inks deal for 1,000 self-driving platforms.
by Katie Burke

Your Amazon Prime delivery just got smarter.

Autonomous trucking company Plus recently signed a deal with Amazon to provide at least 1,000 self-driving systems to retrofit on the e-commerce giant’s delivery fleet. These systems are powered by NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier for high-performance, energy-efficient and centralized AI compute.

The agreement follows Plus’ announcement of going public via SPAC, or special acquisition company.

Amazon — which leads the U.S. e-tail market, counting $386 billion in net revenue in 2020 — has been investing heavily in autonomous and electric vehicle technology. Last year, it acquired robotaxi company and NVIDIA DRIVE ecosystem member Zoox for $1.3 billion.

These deals signal the transition to autonomous systems in both personal and commercial transportation at a massive scale.

An A-Plus Platform

The current generation PlusDrive autonomous trucking platform was developed for level 4 autonomous driving with a human driver still at the wheel, using NVIDIA DRIVE Xavier system-on-a-chip at its core.

Xavier is the first-ever production, automotive-grade SoC for autonomous capabilities. It incorporates six different types of processors, including a CPU, GPU, deep learning accelerator, programmable vision accelerator, image signal processor and stereo/optical flow accelerator.

Architected for safety, Xavier incorporates the redundancy and diversity necessary for safe autonomous operation.

This high-performance compute enables the PlusDrive system to perform surround perception with an array of radar, lidar and camera sensors, running a variety of deep neural networks simultaneously and in real time.

Trucking Ahead

Plus’s deal with Amazon is just the beginning of the march toward widespread autonomous delivery.

The self-driving company has already announced plans to transition to the next generation of AI compute, NVIDIA DRIVE Orin, beginning in 2022. Plus has received more than 7,000 orders and pre-orders for this upcoming system.

Additionally, Amazon has been granted a warrant to buy a 20 percent stake in Plus after they spend more than $150 million, opening up the possibility for even deeper integration of the company’s technology with the e-retailer’s delivery fleet.

And with NVIDIA DRIVE at their core, these autonomous systems will be able to handle the AI processing necessary to deliver safe, efficient and continuously improving trucks at scale.