Nvidia Stock Price Hits Another Record Amid Self-Driving Car Updates
Nvidia showed off new products on Tuesday aimed at speeding up artificial intelligence programs and making self-driving cars even smarter, helping push the stock price of the leading maker of graphics chips to another record high.
Several of the announcements were aimed at self-driving cars, including an AI computer dubbed Drive PX Pegasus to power robotic taxi cabs and a driving simulator called Re-Sim for testing autonomous car apps against real world conditions. Nvidia also said it was starting to give developers access to its photo-realistic virtual reality platform called the Holodeck, after the imaginary VR room from Star Trek.
With customers already snapping up Nvidia’s graphics cards for running AI tasks, as well as to play cutting edge video games and mine digital currencies, the company’s stock price has been setting new records daily. The shares were up another 2% to $188.72 in midday trading, after touching an all-time high of $192.95 earlier on Tuesday.
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CEO Jensen Huang has been broadening the focus of Nvidia’s hardware and software to move beyond gamers for several years. Under Huang, Nvidia’s products harness the ability of graphics chips to perform many simple computing tasks at the same time more rapidly than traditional CPUs to run AI apps. Customers have also been attracted by the company’s proprietary CUDA software for programming machine learning apps. The software has been a key advantage over competitors Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel (INTC).
The new Pegasus, which combines four powerful processors in a device the size of a license plate, can complete 320 trillion operations per second, 10 times the performance of Nvidia’s prior generation of self-driving car computer. Expected to be available in the second half of next year, Pegasus has already attracted commitments from leading autonomous car startups, including Zoox, NuTonomy, and Optimus Ride.
“Creating a fully self-driving car is one of society’s most important endeavors—and one of the most challenging to deliver,” Huang said in an address on Tuesday at the GPU Technology Conference in Munich, Germany. He also unveiled a partnership with Deutsche Post DHL to use Nvidia (NVDA) systems to power a fleet of electric delivery vans that will be partially self-driven.
The Re-Sim program, which runs on Nvidia’s popular DGX computers, can simulate driving 300,000 miles in five hours to put AI driving apps through their paces. The simulator can test a new app virtually driving on every paved road in the United States in less than two days, Nvidia said.
Huang also said developers can now start to apply for early access to use Nvidia’s Holodeck VR project, first demonstrated publicly back in May. The system allows people in different places to work together on 3D models in a virtual space.