AUG. 21, 2014 • Nvidia IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) processors are now running in more than 6 million automobiles worldwide. The technology is used by carmakers such as Audi, BMW and Tesla to provide drivers with navigation systems, vehicle information, media management, personal contacts and phone services. Nvidia has leveraged its GPU experience with video game systems plus its more recent foray into smartphone processors to create the Visual Computing Module for vehicle application. The product features a Tegra K1 system on a chip that includes four CPU cores and a Kepler-based GPU with 192 cores. The module also features a video processor, image processor and audio processor.
Impact: Although Nvidia is best known for high-end graphics cards for desktop PCs and video game consoles, the company has devoted a great deal of energy into diversifying its product lines into mobile hardware. That has not been an easy road given how entrenched Qualcomm and Broadcom are in this business but Nvidia has seen some success in recent years such as its relationship with Chinese smartphone upstart Xiaomi. But automobiles are seen as a growth segment, which is why Nvidia, Qualcomm and Intel are all attempting to break into the business and expand market share. That is not an easy task however as car manufacturers demand a failure rate of 0% for processors used in their vehicles where a 10% failure rate in consumer electronics is acceptable. What’s more, cars must operate in a wide range of hot and cold plus wet and dry conditions, and so must their electronics. Despite the challenges, automotive is the fastest growing portion of Nvidia’s mobile business. DFC will publish an in-depth profile of Nvidia in the coming weeks.