Nvidia and Foxconn announced that they will cooperate in building ‘AI factories’ to accelerate the manufacture of autonomous electric vehicles.
Foxconn is one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers and is best known for producing Apple’s iPhone products.
The company already produces around 40% of the world’s consumer electronics and aims to capture 5% of the EV manufacturing market by 2025.
Manufacturing autonomous EVs involves cutting-edge manufacturing combined with vast amounts of processing to train the AI systems that control self-driving vehicles.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said, “We’re building this entire end-to-end system where on the one hand, you’re building this advanced EV car…with an AI brain inside that allows it to interact with drivers and interact with passengers, as well as autonomously drive, complemented by an AI factory that develops a software for this car.”
Huang explained that the factories would continue to receive data from autonomous vehicles in the field and that this data would be used to improve those in production.
“This car would of course go through life experience and collect more data. The data would go to the AI factory. The AI factory would improve the software and update the entire AI fleet In the future, every company, every industry, will have AI factories,” he said.
Nvidia’s automated driving tech
Foxconn will use Nvidia’s HGX H100 platform and its Grace Hopper GH200 Superchips as the core of its AI factories.
The intelligence behind the autonomous EV manufacturing and training will come from the Nvidia Drive Thor and Nvidia Drive Hyperion 9 platforms.
Nvidia Drive Thor is a centralized 2,000 teraflop computer that will be the heart of the autonomous vehicle (AV). Where current vehicles rely on multiple ECUs, Nvidia Drive Thor brings powerful AI processing together in a single architecture to manage all the intelligence the AV requires.
The platform was announced last year with Geely-owned automaker ZEEKR announcing that it will be integrating it into production vehicles starting in 2025.
DRIVE Hyperion 9 is NVIDIA’s next-generation software-defined autonomous vehicle platform. It features a comprehensive sensor suite, including 14 cameras, 9 radars, 3 lidars, and 20 ultrasonics.
Combining Drive Hyperion 9 with the processing power of Drive Thor gives AV makers a platform to develop self-driving vehicles more quickly and efficiently.
Besides eyeing the AV market, Foxconn will use the Nvidia Omniverse platform and Isaac and Metropolis frameworks in its electronic manufacturing operations.
In its blog post, Nvidia said, “Advances in edge AI and simulation are enabling deployment of autonomous mobile robots that can travel several miles a day and industrial robots for assembling components, applying coatings, packaging, and performing quality inspections.”
As production robotics achieve the kinds of autonomy we’re seeing in self-driving cars we’ll see a lot fewer people in factories. The future of self-improving and self-manufacturing AI machines is not too far off.