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How NVIDIA Puts Artificial Intelligence in Your Car or Truck

microchip maker nvidia reports quarterly earnings
How NVIDIA Puts AI in Your CarJustin Sullivan - Getty Images
  • NVIDIA is peddling a type of generative artificial intelligence that can re-create an intersection virtually and add it to hundreds of different intersections in its “mind” for future reference.

  • NVIDIA stock price has nearly doubled since January—now approaching $1000 per share—with a market cap of $2.3 trillion, more than four times that of Tesla.

  • Major customers for NVIDIA include Mercedes-Benz and its MBUX infotainment system, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Polestar, Lucid, and robotaxis from Amazon’s Zoox and General Motors’ Cruise.


Imagine your self-driving car dabbing its brakes—lifting throttle if it’s an EV—as its front-facing camera spots a stop sign. The car’s graphics processing unit (GPU) doesn’t just call up stored images of various stop signs to understand what that red octangle is trying to tell it.

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Rather, it is re-creating the intersection and adding it to hundreds of different intersections in its “mind” so it can understand such intersections in their various permutations.

That’s generative artificial intelligence of the type NVIDIA is peddling to great effect lately. It’s the difference between AI in your car and the garden variety machine learning “self-driving” robotaxis use in a few urban pockets around the country, explained Danny Shapiro, vice president of automotive for NASDAQ’s hottest company, NVIDIA.

It’s the sort of difference that will geek you out if you’re a generative AI enthusiast and maybe will freak you out if you’re the sort of driving enthusiast who feels dubious about autonomous vehicles in the first place.

Thanks to major buzz in recent weeks, NVIDIA stock price has nearly doubled since January—now approaching $1000 per share—with a market cap of $2.3 trillion, more than four times the market cap of Tesla.

Shapiro spoke before the Automotive Press Association via Zoom Wednesday as NVIDIA held its stock price-enhancing 2024 GTC (graphics processing unit technology conference) at the San Jose Convention Center, led by CEO and founder Jensen Huang and featuring its new Blackwell computer chip architecture, named for University of California-Berkeley mathematician David Harold Blackwell.

daniel shapiro of nvidia at the headquarters of nvidia in 2017
NVIDIA’s Danny Shapiro with the company’s Drive PX2 processor in 2017.San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images - Getty Images

NVIDIA’s automotive unit is “still a single-digit” percentage of the company, Shapiro said. The Detroit three are not major customers, yet, though they do use NVIDIA’s data center services, he said.