Self-driving truck company Plus opts for Nvidia Drive Orin

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Self-driving truck technology specialist Plus (formerly Plus.ai) will equip the next generation of its autonomous truck driving system with the Nvidia Drive Orin system-on-a-chip (SoC). The company plans to roll out this next-generation system in 2022 across the USA, China and Europe.

Plus is starting mass production of its autonomous driving system for heavy trucks this year, and will expand its feature set and operating design domain over time through over-the-air software updates. By working closely with the Nvidia engineering team to further evolve its system, Plus will make it possible for trucks powered by its system to achieve fail-operational performance for greatest on-road safety.

“Enormous computing power is needed to process the trillions of operations that our autonomous driving system runs every fraction of a second,” said Hao Zheng, CTO and co-founder, Plus. “Nvidia Orin is a natural choice for us and the close collaboration with the Nvidia team on a custom design for our system helps us achieve our commercialization goals. We have received more than 10,000 pre-orders of our system, and will continue to develop our next-generation product based on the Nvidia Drive platform as we deliver the systems to our customers.”

The Plus autonomous driving system is designed to make long-haul trucks safer and more efficient. Because of the size and weight of heavy trucks, which can total 80,000 lb with a fully-loaded trailer, they need more time to come to a stop and to maneuver. Plus’s system uses lidar, radar and cameras to provide a 360° view of the truck’s surroundings. Data gathered through the sensors help the system identify objects nearby, plan its course, predict the movement of those objects, and finally control the vehicle to make its next move safely.

Nvidia Orin’s compute power, which can deliver 254 TOPS, is ideal for handling the large number of concurrent operations and supporting sophisticated deep neural networks to process and make decisions using the data on heavy trucks outfitted with the Plus autonomous driving system. Orin is also designed for ISO 26262 Functional Safety ASIL-D at the system level – vital for safety-critical applications like self-driving.

“Plus and its automated trucks are delivering true social benefits today through improved safety and efficiency,” said Rishi Dhall, VP of autonomous vehicles, Nvidia. “With Nvidia Drive Orin, Plus’s next-generation automated system will raise the performance bar even higher.”

Meanwhile, to support the global deployment of its self-driving truck technology, Plus has added two new senior hires, Dennis Mooney, who was most recently senior VP of global product development at leading truck manufacturer Navistar, and Chuck Joseph, who joined from Amazon’s global transportation technology group.

Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Plus also closed US$200m in new funding in February, and announced collaborations with Amazon AWS, Blackberry QNX and Ouster. The company specializes in providing full-stack self-driving technology to enable large-scale autonomous commercial transportation.

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