In a pre-CES news conference on Sunday, Nvidia Corp. announced a partnership with Uber to supply self-driving hardware for the largest U.S. ride-hailing company – sending shares to all time highs.
Nvidia ($NVDA) hit an intraday high of $225 and closed at $222, up $6.60 – resulting in a 12 month gain of 117%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq, meanwhile, were up 26.7% and 29.5% respectively over the last year.
Nvidia plans to start testing all-in-one “system on a chip” processors in cars this quarter, an effort for which Nvidia has plowed $2 billion into R&D. Uber is one of 25 customers lined up for the new hardware in their upcoming “robotaxis.”
Uber claims its autonomous cars, mostly Volvos with Nvidia hardware, have traveled over 2 million miles – with over half of that occuring in the last quarter.
Meanwhile, Google subsidiary Waymo is directly competing with Nvidia, providing self-driving hardware to Uber competitor Lyft. Waymo sued Uber following Uber’s acquisition of self-driving trucking company, Otto.
Sunday’s announcement means that Nvidia will also hel[ guide Uber’s self-driving tractor-trailers, along with non-Volvo beta cars.
As MarketWatch reports:
“Nvidia has spent more than $8 billion on R&D since a 2012 student project showed that GPUs could accelerate machine learning, leading to a booming server business and an automotive business with plenty of potential that hasn’t showed the same type of growth so far. Chief Executive Jensen Huang spent two hours Sunday evening rounding up all of Nvidia’s advances in artificial intelligence, after a brief overview of some new advances in the industry that originally made Nvidia’s name, videogame technology.
Nvidia spent the rest of its time focusing on its breakthroughs in machine learning, in both important and more whimsical ways. The examples included a deep neural network built in partnership with Walt Disney Co. DIS, -1.43% that was taught to compose music like the legendary John Williams, in honor of the new “Star Wars” movie.“
Meanwhile, Nvidia and Volkswagen are working on their own self-driving partnership, with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang showing off plans in a virtual reality pre-CES presentation.
“Nvidia is demonstrating solid innovation and leadership in the self-driving car market by showcasing customers and partners like Uber and Volkswagen,” said Chris Wilder of Moor Insights. “For this industry to be successful, technology companies must address not just the safety, scalability and reliability challenges, but also the overall user experience inside and outside of the vehicle. Nvidia’s announcements at CES shows they are approaching the Autonomous Vehicle experience holistically which, in my opinion, will keep Nvidia as a leader in this burgeoning market.”