Nvidia unveils Drive Thor chip for autonomous and connected vehicles

Infotainment systems, autonomous driving, advanced driver assistance system (ADAS)… On the occasion of the GTC conference on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, Nvidia is introducing a new system-on-a-chip (SoC) designed to control everything in the car. Named Drive Thor, this “centralized computer” can meet all the needs of a car with a miniature platform. Drive Thor is an Orin replacement built into Orin’s Drive AGX platform.

2000 teraflops

The new platform includes the next-generation Grace CPU and next-generation Hopper GPU. It displays a processing power of 2000 teraflops. Drive Thor also includes a “transducer engine”, a component that processes video data as a single perceptual image, allowing the computing platform to process more data over time.

The goal of Drive Thor is to solve the intelligent functions of the car in one place: autonomous driving and advanced driver assistance functions, parking, driver monitoring, infotainment system, dashboard, passenger entertainment system in the rear of the car.

“Various computing units are often placed in the car, in 2025. [la date de commercialisation de Drive Thor, Ndlr] a single system will integrate and manage all the functions of the car,” adds Danny Shapiro, vice president of automotive technology at Nvidia. Please note that Drive Thor can separate and isolate infotainment and autonomous driving functions, which means they never interrupt certain critical functions.

The new Nvidia Drive Thor platform.

Marketing in 2025

Nvidia guarantees that the system is more efficient in terms of power consumption and, above all, that its overall cost is lower than with a distributed approach. Typically, dozens of electrical control units are distributed throughout the vehicle to individually control functions. With Drive Thor, manufacturers can pack multiple features into a single SoC. This simplifies the design of the car and reduces its cost and weight.

Zeekr is the first officially announced customer that will implement the system in their vehicles from 2025. Other manufacturers would be interested, but the name has not been released. Nvidia is reassuring potential customers that those using the Drive Orin can easily adapt their designs for use with the Drive Thor.

The chip can be configured in different ways to suit the needs of the manufacturer: it can allocate all the processing power for autonomous driving, or use a part for artificial intelligence, another for the infotainment system, and the last one for driver assistance. You can also connect two Drive Thor platforms for an even more powerful system.

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