In a decade since the self-driving vehicle industry started gaining momentum, auto companies have accumulated roughly 24 million kilometres in autonomous mode on public roads.
While this might seem like a lot, experts agree that this is a rather small slice of the billions of kilometres that is necessary before fleets of autonomous vehicles can be safely deployed.
To overcome the problem of gaining experience on the road, which could take decades, companies have adopted AV simulators as an essential tool for helping record fuel range in cyber worlds. This movement took another notable step forward on Monday.
About 1,000 vehicles in the simulation will be capable of accumulating 1.9 million kilometres of simulated driving per day.
American computing company Nvidia recently announced that its Drive Constellation virtual proving ground was now available for customers. At the moment, we have been told that the first user of the open platform will be the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). Following an announcement on the same day, TRI announced that it will integrate a number of Nvidia product throughout its plan for training and development of self-driving technology.
Deploying its simulation with a customer such as the TRI marked a significant milestone for the company which started out with graphics processing units for the video game industry. The company now plays a significant role in providing computing power and artificial intelligence for more than 70 manufacturers in the automotive industry.
“The benefit of simulation is these miles aren’t just regular road miles where nothing happens, and we can control for all different scenarios,” said Danny Shapiro, senior director of automotive at Nvidia. “We can make every mile count. Blinding sun, rain, snow, bad actors cutting us off, braking harshly or people jaywalking. The simulator gives us control.”
Testing autonomous driving technology on the road comes with a restrictions. Hence companies are now depending on AV simulators.
Nvidia’s Constellation is a cloud-based platform that allows its partners to integrate their own strategies and models alongside sensor configurations and traffic scenarios into testing parameters. Companies can run test scenarios all day, driving at speeds of up to 80kph, Shapiro says, 1,000 vehicles in Constellation are capable of accumulating 1.9 million kilometres of simulated driving per day.
Toyota, however, is not the only company taking part in the rat race to be the safest and most intelligent autonomous driving systems in the industry. Goggle’s commercially minded offspring Waymo that made its debut a decade ago has made simulation wherein it has recorded 11 million kilometres worth of simulation.