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Nvidia Orin Turbocharges ADAS

May 18, 2021

Author: Mike Demler

Nvidia’s new Drive Orin platform for ADASs and autonomous vehicles (AVs) will deliver big performance and power-efficiency boosts compared with the predecessor Drive Xavier systems. The company expects first silicon to arrive this quarter, but to fulfill its plan to support vehicles entering production in 2022, it must work fast and hope for first-pass success. Orin targets a much wider range of configurations than Xavier, from the Level 2 ADASs and driver-monitoring systems (DMSs) that are shipping today to future Level 4/5 robotaxis and self-driving trucks.

The top-of-the-line Orin X model will deliver up to 254 trillion operations per second (TOPS) at about 100W, making it by far the highest-performance ADAS processor on the market. At the low end, Nvidia plans to offer a low-power entry-level Orin that will achieve 10 TOPS at less than 6W. This chip will compete directly with Mobileye’s EyeQ5, although the latter started sampling in late 2018 and will likely enter volume production in 3Q21. In between the extremes, Orin (like Xavier) supports configurable core counts, speeds, and power supplies to target various use cases. For example, one of its main targets is 72 TOPS at 25W, matching the performance of Tesla’s so-called full-self-driving ASIC while consuming 30% less power.

Although Orin has yet to enter production, Nvidia disclosed the chip’s successor, Atlan, at its recent developer conference, calling it a “data center on a chip.” That processor will employ future Arm Neoverse CPUs and an automotive-network gateway based on Nvidia’s BlueField data-center-processor (DPU) technology. Nvidia is designing Atlan to boost single-chip AI throughput to 1,000 TOPS. It withheld the exact power-consumption target, but it has revealed its goal of doubling Orin’s power efficiency. Atlan won’t sample until 4Q23 at the earliest, targeting vehicles entering production in 2025.

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