Daimler, Nvidia co-develop software-defined vehicle architecture

Daimler, Nvidia co-develop software-defined vehicle architecture

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Less than a week after Daimler withdrew from joint electronics development activities with BMW, the company is now showing where the journey is headed: Together with Nvidia, Daimler wants to develop a flexible, updatable computer architecture for its Mercedes-Benz brand.
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

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The new computer architecture is to be based on Nvidia’s drive platform with the Orin processor SoC and will be used in all vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz brand from 2024. This SoC is based on Nvidia’s recently announced ampere supercomputing architecture. An operating system still to be developed plays a central role, which should grow with its tasks. To this end, the entire system is to be as update-capable as a current smartphone; updates are to take place via the air interface (over-the-air, OTA).

In a joint virtual press conference, Daimler CEO Ola Källenius and Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang presented the close cooperation within which the two companies will jointly develop the computer platform. The platform will control all the vehicle’s electronic functions, from driver assistance to fully automatic driving in the future, Källenius explained.


The development goal is to be able to drive regular routes automatically. Daimler also wants to develop safety and comfort applications that run on this platform. At the time the vehicle was delivered, the computer platform was probably oversized, explained Kallenius. As a result, it has the necessary headroom to gradually install many additional functions via OTA update. This opens up new business models: Mercedes owners can use a subscription model to keep their vehicle software up to date over the entire life cycle and “install” new functions via an upgrade.

Software upgrades via the air interface: Daimler wants to at least catch up with Tesla

In developing the sensing and control functions for automated driving, Daimler relies on the AI computing infrastructure and software from Nvidia, in particular the Nvidia Drive platform. This already contains a complete system software stack designed for the automated control of AI applications. The platform is also implemented and offered to vehicle customers by a number of tier-one suppliers, including Continental, Bosch and ZF. Audi also relies on Nvidia technology for driving automation. Daimler and Nvidia now intend to jointly develop AI applications and automated driving functions that include SAE Levels 2 and 3 as well as automated parking functions up to Level 4.

Daimler has been using Nvidia technology including AI in its MBUX (Mercedes Benz User Experience) infotainment platform for two years. The experience with MBUX and the associated cooperation with Nvidia was a positive incentive to intensify the cooperation with the Californian processor manufacturer and AI pioneer, Källenius explained.

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