Jaguar Land Rover is teaming up with Nvidia to install high-powered computers in its vehicles to enable advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving features. Starting in 2025, all JLR vehicles will come with Nvidia’s end-to-end Drive Hyperion platform installed, the companies said.
Hyperion is the latest iteration of Nvidia’s Drive platform that allows automakers to customize their own driving features. And Orin is the chipmaker’s system-on-a-chip, similar to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving chip or Intel’s Mobileye EyeQ. This new hardware will form the basis for a new suite of driving features, including advanced driver assistance systems, automated parking, and autonomous driving, the companies said.
“Orin is the AI brain of the car, and Drive Hyperion is the central nervous system,” said Danny Shapiro, Nvidia’s vice president for automotive.
JLR wouldn’t say which models would be receiving which features as a result of this deal. But we can guess some of the broad outlines, based on Nvidia’s other automotive deals, including Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, TuSimple, Cruise, Zoox, and a host of Chinese EV startups. Whatever they are, they will be befitting JLR’s mission to provide a luxury vehicle experience to its customers, said Francois Dossa, executive director of strategy at JLR.
“This is a very dynamic collaboration that we’re having with Nvidia,” Dossa said. “So we know that we’re going to add more and more features corresponding to the modern luxury that we want to offer our customers.”
Shapiro described the capabilities enabled by Nvidia’s Drive Hyperion platform as “highly automated and full self-driving.” Given the level of confusion that exists around autonomous vehicles, largely as a result of inaccurate marketing and bad journalism, I asked Shapiro to define what he meant by those terms. Here’s what he said:
Highly automated, in many cases, would mean you could get onto a freeway and a car will drive itself. It will maintain a safe distance, it will stay in the lanes, potentially it could change lanes automatically or upon request, things like that. Full self driving is you get in the car, and it will take you from A to B and you don’t have to touch anything. And again there’s a wide spectrum.
Later, Dossa clarified that JLR was working on Level 3 autonomous technology, which describes driving features that don’t require human supervision under specific conditions, like a mapped highway.
(Most AV companies, including Waymo and Cruise, have said they are skipping Level 3 and working exclusively on Level 4 technology. The reason is that Level 3 is seen as being potentially dangerous, given the likelihood that drivers will be confused about when they need to take over control of the vehicle, and could become overly complacent.)
JLR has a deal with Waymo, in which the Alphabet-owned company works with the automaker to outfit its I-Pace electric SUVs with autonomous driving hardware and software. Waymo is operating a fleet of its autonomous Jaguar I-Pace vehicles in California.
JLR has also said it will be all-electric by 2025. And while its plans are clearly ambitious, the automaker has been slow to embrace electrification and automation. Its only fully electric car to date is the I-Pace, which has struggled to make inroads against more established electric carmakers. Even then, the car is built by a contractor, rather than being produced by JLR in-house.