Nvidia BB8 autonomous car drives 80km through Silicon Valley

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    I think it's reasonable to assume that they would try keeping the power envelope pretty similar to what they had before, since they can't really afford to increase it a whole lot without people noticing an impact on range.
    As for the deep learning thing, I don't understand what you're getting at. It'd be a terrible idea to expect each individual driver to train their car's AI, so that obviously isn't how they would go about it. That means the AI is something they (as the company) would train, and only need to do once. I'm sure they'd release small updates every once in a while to fine-tune its performance. It's so much less expensive in terms of hardware, energy, financial cost, and processing power to have a trained AI, vs the alternative you propose (compensate with a crapload of sensors). It's something that, if done properly, would apply to everyone's car.
    To clarify my point in my previous post, sensors should only be added to compensate for missing and/or unreliable data. But just simply adding sensors for the sake of more data will not necessarily ensure a smarter or more effective AI. And no, I'm not suggesting it'll hurt the AI (though, it could, if there's enough latency or incoming errors as a result of them).

    500W is not a non-issue, but, I would entirely agree with you that future generations are bound to be far more efficient. However, Nvidia are the ones claiming that 500W is good; it isn't. As stated before, it's efficient in a TOPS perspective, but performance efficiency is not the only metric that matters. If it did, everyone would be driving 4.0L+ engines, because despite using more fuel, a larger displacement is more efficient (when all things are treated equal - obviously, plenty of engines that size are horribly inefficient).
    EDIT:
    Also, it's important to consider that many car companies are really being nagged to improve fuel economy, especially in places like CA and various European countries that have emissions taxes.

    Interesting, I wasn't aware of that. Well then, I guess their system is better than I gave them credit for.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  2. Denial

    Denial Ancient Guru

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    They get the test data to train their neural net from the cars themselves. Tesla for example uploads it when you use a supercharger station or on home wifi network. Nvidia does the same thing with their test cars but will almost certainly do it when full cars start rolling out with "driver assist" features. They already talked about delivering updates to areas that are weaker mapped/unknown by utilizing data from the cars when the self-driving is off. I'm sure they'll also sample some degree of self-driving "on" data to improve accuracy over time. It would be impossible to do the training in car - PX2 is optimized for inference/sensory input. My point is training accuracy is improved with more sensory data being uploaded from the car. The inferencing afterward has a relatively low performance requirement.

    It's a trade off - you pull in 8x the data with more sensors and your crash rate goes from 99.99 to 99.9999999 (I don't know the exact numbers but w/e) and in terms of inferencing it only requires double the performance - not that big of a deal. It's an easy choice to make when that .000000001 crash that kills a family of 5 basically sets self-driving back five years in the minds of consumers/bureaucracy. Of course in the meantime tens of thousands die because everyone is afraid to be part of that .000000001%
     
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  3. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    That makes a lot of sense and is something I would totally agree with. However, I'm not sure how that warrants the sheer amount of processing power used. Reading oodles of sensory data to be transmitted later is obviously not going to run on a quad core ARM CPU, but it wouldn't use 500W of some of the most advanced tech available, either.
    On the other hand, if it's collecting+compressing this data while also executing its own AI logic, I could see how those 2 combined could use 500W of power. So if the final product isn't used to collect data and weens off some of the not-so-necessary sensors, I'm sure Nvidia could have a very efficient (sub-150W) unit.
    Agreed - good point.
     
  4. Agent-A01

    Agent-A01 Ancient Guru

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    Those are things nobody knows besides Tesla, but some videos I've seen where there is nobody in the driver seat. I'd say failed sensors and the like aren't very common.
    Most likely computer doesn't know what to do.


    I've worked on quite a few cars and I've seen as high as 250amp alternators on 4cylinder engines.

    Powering a clutch-driven belt system takes little power, you can expect most cars use around/less than 20HP to drive.

    A 200amp alternator might use 10hp on its own.
    Even compact cars will have no problem driving the system.

    To recap, no 500W is not a noticeable load on the engine, but it may put a strain on the alternator if it's underrated for the job.

    As for wear on drive belt and alternator, not sure what you mean.
    Increased load doesn't cause much more wear on the system.(i.e. bigger alternators included)

    The belts will be moving faster yes, but what goes out in alternators are generally the needle bearings or the brushes.
    More load isn't going to drastically reduce the the lifespan as they will wear out regardless due to constant movement.

    As for fuel economy, you can expect 1-2mpg max, which is hardly anything.
    That's why I say it's practically free as the difference is marginal.

    Lastly, I'd say low-displacement engines aren't the focus
    Fully-autonomous driving will generally mean said car is nicer, more luxurious cars and two, they are not 8000 dollar chevys.
    Do we see cheap cars with even driver assisted computers? Not yet, because cost is a huge factor.

    So these cars that are almost there at being able to drive themselves are generally more expensive cars.
    I.e. a new S-class mercedes that costs a hundred USD + is able to drive itself up to a limit.

    A ford focus that drives itself is going to have a much higher cost.
    True, but the point is when a company is designing a car, it's not a problem to include a bigger alternator.
    That will be one cost factor that they won't overlook.

    Gotcha, we were disagreeing on two different things.
     

  5. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    Well, I was also asking hypothetically. The point was that pointing out the accidents Teslas (or any semi-autonomous vehicle; doesn't matter from who) doesn't reinforce your point when there are potential reasons for those accidents that Nvidia's current method does not necessarily fix.
    Like I said, I'm talking average car. People who use 250amp alternators in are an exception. If Nvidia is trying to make a kit adaptable to existing cars, I'm not so sure people are going to want to start swapping out parts in their engine bay.
    Yes, and?
    Under ideal/normal conditions that the alternator was intended to be put under, yes, I would agree with this. Exceeding 60% of its capacity is not such a situation.
    Again, 500W of total load on the alternator isn't the problem, it's 500W in addition to everything else. That being said, on an economy car, maybe you wouldn't feel much of a difference, but it would have a measurable impact on fuel economy.
    Increased tension and load on the belt will stretch it out. As stated before, the more watts you pull from the alternator, the more mechanical resistance it has. Therefore, the alternator will put additional stress on the belt.
    Depends on the car. A 2.0L engine is bound to see a lot more than 2MPG. I've observed greater losses in fuel economy due to A/C in a modern car. An A/C demands more power than an alternator under normal load, but an alternator pushing nearly 1KW and you're bound to need more energy than the A/C.
    I never said anything about crappy cars, but regardless, many luxurious cars proportionately don't have much more usable power, due to their additional weight. They do tend to be a little faster, but they're not usually deemed fast. This is why I distinguished sports cars and trucks as an exception, because they have a proportionately much better power:weight ratio.
    Anyway, to your credit, a luxury car would be able to crank a high-wattage alternator much more efficiently at idle or lower RPMs, and, they would generally be less stressed.
    True, but I guess that all depends on how they go about implementing this. For example, if this is sold as a conversion kit, that could be a problem.

    And don't forget, cooling 500W of components is tricky, especially for a vehicle whose environment may have extreme temperatures.

    Anyway, as discussed with Denial, it's possible that what Nvidia is doing here is still a prototype, and it is very likely the final product won't be so power hungry. But the entire premise behind me commenting in the first place was Nvidia (or Huang, at least) acted like "this is pretty much ready as-is" which I find concerning if this is what they deem acceptable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  6. Agent-A01

    Agent-A01 Ancient Guru

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    My assumption is there will never be a kit anytime soon or ever for a customer to install themselves; cars I am referring to will be ones that are built from the factory with AI drivng as standard options.

    These cars will have the necessary modifications from the factory.
    Not kits for Joe to try and install.

    You mentioned an increased load on the engine, which even low-powered engines can handle. I think you meant to say alternator.

    Even on a old 90s V8 mercedes e-class that I used to own, I never experienced a measurable MPG loss( 110 to 150amp for modifications I did to the car, i.e. sound system, heated seats, etc).
    I always had about 26mpg highway before and after.

    Unless you've experienced something drastically different, an additional 40amps(560w) for an alternator will not change fuel consumption much.

    Stretched belts aren't common in today's world(at least for quality OEM) and an additional 500w will not make any difference on a belt system.

    You have to think of 500w is less than 1HP.
    That is very minute; that is not enough mechanical force to cause any issues.

    Anyways, increased resistance would wear out the belt tensioner more-so. But either way it's negligible.

    I'm not sure where you've got your figures from.

    An AC system uses multiple kWs.
    An average car will use close to 3-4kW, whereas luxury car with 4 zone climate can use double that.

    As for alternators usage, it's highly dependent on design.
    Older designs are not very efficient and can use multiple kW to convert energy.
    Newer cars are much more efficient, so the power required to generate energy will be less than an AC system

    An older designed 75amp alternator can use more power than a newer 125amp, depending on design.

    As for MPG in AC it depends.
    If an engine is under-powered, clutch-driven AC can reduce MPG much more than just 2mpg.

    Back in the day you could see 10mpg loss on old toyotas 4 cylinders.
    Today, 2.0L can have 200hp/tq which will drastically reduce the difference in fuel loss.

    On my daily beater with a v8 340hp/376 TQ I measured about a 1mpg loss with AC on.
    Car has enough power to make AC negligible.

    Yes, that was my point, when you made the assumption of 4cylinder cars being the norm.
    My take is those cars are generally cheap to produce cars.

    Today's cars that use self-driving are not cheap cars, they are generally higher-powered, luxury vehicles.
    Many luxury cars will have V6/V8 as standard or turbo variants which have more usable power than said 4cylinder cars.


    Oh I agree.
    I've seen too many modules in cars dying from excess heat.

    Well we as consumers don't know exactly what is necessary to facilitate a perfect autonomous driving vehicle.
    It's all hearsay at this point from our point of view.

    So you may be right that such sheer hardware is not necessary or may not be, who knows.
     
  7. D3M1G0D

    D3M1G0D Ancient Guru

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    Self-driving cars means no more designated driver ;)

    On a more serious note, traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death worldwide, and the majority are caused by human error. Human error was also responsible for several plane crashes in the early years, which is why it has been increasingly automated (there's a reason why flying is much safer than driving). Autonomous cars will both increase safety and allow more leisure time - a win-win.
     
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  8. Andrew LB

    Andrew LB Maha Guru

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    I agree. This huge push for autonomous never made much sense to me. But i'm an auto enthusiast who drives a supercharged German sports sedan with a manual transmission, and haven't owned an automatic in 20 years. So i'm not the kind of person who sees driving as a chore like most people do. Though, if auto-pilot can be automatically activated on every car during the morning and evening rush-hour (more like 4 hours) commutes on southern california freeways, i'm all for it. Way too many idiots playing bumper cars, not to mention all the illegal aliens with drivers licenses and no insurance running into people (happened to me 3x in the past 10 years, two were attempted hit and runs)

    I'm just glad that Audi has stated they are not going full autonomous even though they have the technology to do so. Rather, they are integrating features that are part of an autonomous system that can be activated in order to assist drivers as needed. Traffic Jam assist (a form of advanced cruise control), traffic sign recognition, pedestrian recognition, night vision, and even collision avoidance (not just braking, but turning as well) are already on current Audi models, as well as many other features. These features only provide assistance though, so keep that in mind. I don't see Audi completely removing the driver from the equation considering a good portion of people who buy their A-Model vehicles, and pretty much everyone who buys an S or RS Model vehicle do so because they are enthusiasts. Their recent ad is a great indicator of this.

     
  9. Andrew LB

    Andrew LB Maha Guru

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    Comparing air travel to motor vehicles is definitely apples/oranges. Aircraft face far less traffic, have far higher required maintenance standards, and are piloted by professionals. Almost all airline deaths occur during takeoff and landing which contrary to popular belief, is almost always exclusively done by the pilot and not the auto-land systems which are present in almost all modern commercial aircraft. Also, 100% of takeoff's are done by the pilot.
     
  10. Andrew LB

    Andrew LB Maha Guru

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    What 4 cylinder car uses a 250 amp alternator? I've got a 2015 S4 with almost all the available electronic options and it only has a 180 amp alternator. And iirc the A4 (which is 4 cylinder) also uses a 180 amp alt. I think even the newest A8 with all the bells and whistles has a 200 amp alt.

    One thing i have noticed though is the battery in these cars are getting quite massive. Most of the newer model Audi's are all AGM group 95R batteries with 950 CCA. The move to AGM is because traditional lead acid batteries can't handle the recharge current provided by these high output alternators, all of which are required for the high power demands of the electrical systems.
     

  11. right up until they aren't
     
  12. Agent-A01

    Agent-A01 Ancient Guru

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    The 250amp I saw personally was in a 4cylinder diesel engine, not quite apples to oranges but they are out there.

    AGM has been pretty common on luxury sedans for the past decade or two.
    But yes, AGM has quite a few pros over traditional lead-acid.
     
  13. NewTRUMP Order

    NewTRUMP Order Master Guru

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    Uh planes are flown by two highly trained human pilots that program, use and manage computer systems. Big difference than an empty cockpit with an electrical system entrusted with your life.
     
  14. D3M1G0D

    D3M1G0D Ancient Guru

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    As Andrew LB mentioned, most airplane accidents occur during takeoff and landing which is still mostly performed by the pilots. As I said before, human error is the primary cause of accidents so removing the human factor isn't a bad thing.
     
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