back to article Want to cruise your auto auto around but don't fancy killing people? Nvidia has an answer

This week at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in Silicon Valley, the chip slinger claimed its Drive Constellation – a server and software combo designed to give self-driving cars a virtual world where they can play without harming any of those squishy humans – is now available. The technology was previously teased in …

  1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    Coat

    Companies operating in the autonomous car field are springing up like mushrooms after the rain,

    ..but mushrooms are supposed to be consumers of bullshit...

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    All this hoopla for nothing

    Unless you're going to try and make me believe that these virtual training worlds contain perfect replicas of sun glare, intense rain, snow and potholes in inconvenient areas ?

    The only thing these virtual worlds are, at best, going to do is guarantee that the vehicles will run okay in perfect conditions - which is already something, I guess, but not enough.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: All this hoopla for nothing

      Considering that it is a virtual world, what makes you think that the above are unmanageable?

      Sun glare is a visibility inhibitor in a specific direction - reducing view distance towards the virtual sun will handle it,

      Intense rain is another visibility inhibitor, as is (falling) snow - reduce the view distance of the simulated car again.

      Snow/ice on the road is a modifier to the coefficient of friction - have a variable changing unexpectedly

      Awkward potholes can be inserted for maximum awkwardidity or virtual road surfaces could just have a "council budget" slider - all modifiable parameters.

      On top of that, autonomous vehicles do not need to be perfect before they are better than humans, they just need to be better than humans to be better than humans.

      1. druck Silver badge

        Re: All this hoopla for nothing

        Even if it manages all those environmental factors, it will never contain human drivers, human pedestrians, and the most difficult to simulate; the completely erratic Cambridge cyclist.

        And autonomous vehicles do need to be perfect not just better. Humans can believe in the failings of other humans, they will never accept deaths caused by computers.

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: All this hoopla for nothing

          I was going to give a real answer, but then the idea of an "Autonomous cockwomble coefficient" to trigger those situations made me giggle more than is proper.

          Anyway, I'm sure our fellow humans will bow in the face of numbers and logic.

  3. Alister Silver badge

    A simulation can't possibly replicate all the myriad situations that car drivers face daily, and therefore they are no substitute for comprehensive real life testing.

    1. zuckzuckgo

      No real world test can expose a driver or a pilot to all the truly dangerous scenarios and fringe cases without creating casualties. That is why commercial pilots train on simulators as well as real planes.

      It is also unlikely that any simulation will be good enough on it's own, but it would be a good thing if all self driving prototypes had to first master a simulated environment before real world road testing.

      1. Alterhase
        FAIL

        >>>> That is why commercial pilots train on simulators as well as real planes.

        Unnh -- may I mention the Boeing 737 Max 8?

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      A simulation can't possibly replicate all the myriad situations that car drivers face daily

      Prove it. For that matter, prove that the car driver of your choice - you, say - is not already operating in a simulation.

      I'm not a fan of autonomous vehicles, but this sort of objection is simply foolish. "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible!"

      There are some postulates which we have good arguments for rejecting as impossible. Violating thermodynamics, say, or faster-than-light communications (much less travel). That doesn't mean it's inconceivable that we're wrong about them - obviously people conceive that possibility routinely - but we have both theoretical and practical justifications for them, and we can extrapolate nasty consequences which we'd probably have noticed if significant counterexamples happened to occur in our neighborhood.

      Beyond that, declaring impossibility is a fool's game.

      1. druck Silver badge

        But its not impossible you know you are talking b*ll*cks, given the current state of the art in simulations.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought TRIAD was from China and not Japan !?

  5. 2cent

    A real product please.

    This technology and ones similar to it are ready to train people who are getting ready to drive in other countries.

    Simply said, a service to learn how to drive before you arrive.

    Would somebody please do this. As someone residing in the US, the idea of driving in the UK scares the crap out of me, but I'd really like to vacation there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A real product please.

      Sounds a great idea!

      This is in no way meant to be rude or disparaging, but I think you will find that in general the standard of driving in the UK is better than in the US, particularly outside of the big cities, so once you get over driving on the wrong side of the road, you should be fine.

      1. Julz

        Re: A real product please.

        Don't mention the roundabouts...

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: A real product please.

          I didn't

          :D

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: A real product please.

      I've never bothered trying to drive in the UK myself, despite having been there quite a few times; but I know many people from the US who have. My father did, on his first trip over, and managed to drive from a car hire somewhere in London to Wales and then to and around Cumbria with only one hitch.

      The hitch being arriving in Wales when we were supposed to be driving to Cumbria.

      But other than that it was fine. Over the course of a week or so he tackled everything from motorways to single-lane mountain passes without incident.

      Some years back I'd have cautioned US drivers that they'd better be conversant with a manual transmission, but automatics are becoming more and more common. (Oh, well.)

      And we have roundabouts (aka "traffic circles", or in some parts of the US "rotaries") in the US too. There are more of them in the UK, and they vary more in size, but mainly you have to remember to go around them in the correct direction.

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