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Volvo sets timeline for autonomous car sales

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Volvo and Nvidia seem to be feeling pretty good about their tests of Nvidia’s Drive PX2 hardware for self-driving cars. Volvo said this week that by 2021 it will be selling autonomous cars that don’t require driver intervention.

As an automaker that has built its brand around safety, Volvo is well-positioned to lead the migration to autonomous cars. Two years ago, Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said his company will assume all liability for its autonomous cars.

Volvo is clearly determined to maintain its focus on safety and has partnered with Autoliv, a well-known supplier of automotive safety technology. Together, Volvo and Autoliv are forming a new company called Zenuity to develop software for self-driving cars based on Nvidia’s hardware.

Zenuity will sell software to other carmakers in addition to Volvo. The venture gives Volvo a potential secondary revenue stream from the self-driving car market, and expands Nvidia’s opportunities as well since the Zenuity systems will be built on its hardware.

“This cooperation with Nvidia places Volvo Cars, Autoliv and Zenuity at the forefront of the fast moving market to develop next generation autonomous driving capabilities and will speed up the development of Volvo’s own commercially available autonomous drive cars,” said Samuelsson.

Working with Nvidia does appear to put Volvo in the fast lane, but the automaker is not alone there. Tesla is also using Nvidia’s Drive PX2 platform, and Nvidia has partnerships with Audi and Toyota as well.

Nvidia’s platform uses artificial intelligence and deep learning to interpret sensor data in the context of existing maps, and then instruct the vehicle in real time.

“Artificial intelligence is the essential tool for solving the incredibly demanding challenge of autonomous driving,” said Nvidia CEO and co-founder Jensen Huang. “We are building on our earlier collaboration with Volvo Cars to create production ready vehicles that will make driving safer, lead to greener cities and reduce congestion on our roads.”

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