Nvidia’s AutoSIM is the ‘Inception’ of self-driving car simulators

Nvidia is unveiling plenty of new stuff at CES, and most of it centers around cars. One of its most interesting announcements is AutoSIM, the virtualized testing environment it uses to drive more hours in simulation than anyone ever could using real cars on real roads.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang described AutoSIM as a kind of “Inception” of virtual environments at a press Q&A, referring to the movie about dreams within dreams. The layers of Nvidia’s AutoSIM, however, aren’t dreams — but are instead virtualized AI agents operating within larger virtual environments, and running virtualized augmented reality software, too.

AutoSIM is essentially a huge virtual world running on extremely powerful Nvidia DGX GPU-based super computers. Within, there are multiple virtual cities, and virtual cars driving around virtual roads within those cities, sharing the generated urban environments with virtualized pedestrians, cyclists, animals and more.

“We’re essentially going to have thousands of virtual universes where all of these virtual cars are driving around,” Huang said, adding that using things like the Vive head-mounted VR display, we can now also “wormhole” into these kinds of simulations to observe and test things like Nvidia’s new Drive AR in-car augmented reality platform.

The really mind-blowing part of AutoSIM? Those virtualized cars running in those virtualized cities on virtualized roads are all running virtualized versions of Nvidia’s Drive in-car autonomous supercomputer platform — in other words, androids really do dream of electric sheep, but each of those sheep are self-driving cars.