Wednesday, 28 March 2018 14:07

Nvidia goes on a remote drive

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Nvidia has demonstrated a system for remotely operating autonomous vehicles.

Nvidia used part of founder and chief executive Jensen Huang's keynote presentation at the company's GPU Technology Conference to give a live demonstration of an autonomous vehicle being controlled by a remote human operator.

The project is based on the idea that we want humans to be the backup controllers of autonomous systems, but there will be times when nobody is physically present, he explained.

This isn't about taking over in an emergency, but rather coping with a situation where a car has come to a halt because the onboard system can't work out what to do next.

The demonstration — which uses Nvidia's Holodeck platform — involved a driver beside the conference stage wearing a VR headset and using a gaming steering wheel and other controls.

The car was initially stationary behind a parked truck. The driver took control, moved off, steered round the truck and into a nearby car park, slotting the vehicle neatly into a vacant space at the first attempt.

The demonstration was performed in a private area that was closed to the public at the time.

VentureBeat shot this video from the floor of the auditorium:

After the demo, the driver told journalists that there was a short break in the main video feed from the car as he entered the parking lot.

Huang said this technology means "we can go somewhere that we otherwise couldn't".

It shows how VR can be used "to teleport ourselves into the mind of the autonomous machine."

Disclosure: The writer attended Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference as a guest of the company.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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