Luxe German automakers Mercedes-Benz have recently announced their intentions to co-create a new generation of smart vehicles in conjunction with NVIDIA. Come 2024, expect your Benz to come with a suite of AI-enabled computing systems, over-the-air upgradability in software and enhanced autonomous self-driving capabilities.
Says founder and CEO of NVIDIA Jensen Huang in a press release, “We are excited to work with Mercedes-Benz. It’s the perfect partner for us given its long record of innovation and our strong technical relationship.”
“Together, we’re going to revolutionise the car ownership experience,” he adds. Key features of the NVIDIA Drive-equipped vehicles include the ability to drive autonomously from address to address (also known as SAE Level 3 automation, which still requires drivers in the vehicle), automated safety and convenience applications, and subscription services that can be continuously improved throughout the car’s life.
Continuous patches and upgrading would allow Mercedes-Benz to gradually improve on passenger safety and well-being as advancements are iterated. Something like Toyota’s braking system problem would no longer require a recall. Instead, the fault could be detected, fixed and eliminated for the rest of Mercedes-Benz’s fleet on the fly. It also means that Mercedes-Benz won’t have to invent their own automation system thanks to the collaboration with NVIDIA, saving them years of design and experimentation.
That said though, there’s plenty left to think about automated vehicles. While auto-braking and parking systems have already been around for quite a bit, it’s a far cry from true automation. And four years is a short, short time to get to consumer-ready, fully-autonomous vehicles (and even shorter if you’re talking smart cars a la Knight Rider). And of course, there’s the oft-repeated question of ethics: who should the autonomous vehicle prioritise? The passengers within the vehicle, or pedestrians without?
At the very least, Mercedes-Benz has joined the technological revolution that’s heralding the age of the new automobile: think electric, and smarter than ever before. From Jaguar’s shape-shifting chair to simulate walking, to BMW’s wireless charging system for hybrid vehicles, luxury marques and techies alike are pushing for an idyllic future of their own design.