Volvo teams up with Nvidia to develop self-driving commercial and industrial trucks

Volvo and Nvidia announced a new partnership today aimed at developing the next-generation decision-making engine for Volvo Group’s fully autonomous commercial trucks and industrial service vehicles. The partnership will use Nvidia’s Drive artificial intelligence platform, which encompasses processing data from sensors, perception systems, localization, mapping and path prediction and planning.

Volvo already has some freight vehicles with autonomous technology on board in early service, but these are deployed in tightly controlled environments and operate supervised, as at the Swedish port of Gothenburg. The partnership between Nvidia and Volvo Group is intended to help not only test and deploy a range of autonomous vehicles with AI decision-making capabilities on board, but also eventually ensure these commercial vehicles can operate on their own on public roads and highways.

Transport freight is only one target for the new joint effort — Nvidia and Volvo will also seek to build autonomous systems and vehicles that can handle garbage and recycling pickup, operate on construction sites, at mines and in the forestry industry, too. Nvidia notes on its blog that its solution will help address soaring demand for global shipping, driven by increased demand for consumer package delivery. It’ll also cover smaller-scale use cases such as on-site port freight management.

The agreement between the two companies will span multiple years, and will involve teams from both companies sharing space both in Volvo’s HQ of Gothenburg and Nvidia’s hometown of Santa Clara, Calif.

Nvidia has done plenty with autonomous trucking in the past, including an investment in Chinese self-driving trucking startup TuSimple, powering the intelligence of the fully driverless Einride transport vehicle and working with Uber on its ATG-driven truck business.