Automated & Connected

NVIDIA makes open, cloud-based simulation platform available

NVIDIA has made available its open, cloud-based DRIVE Constellation AV simulation platform. It says the platform enables millions of miles to be driven in virtual worlds across a broad range of scenarios—from routine driving to rare and dangerous situations. Its release claims the platform offers “greater efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety than what is possible to achieve in the real world.”

DRIVE Constellation is comprised of two side-by-side servers. One server—DRIVE Constellation Simulator—uses NVIDIA GPUs running software to generate the sensor output from the virtual car driving in a virtual world. The other server—DRIVE Constellation Vehicle—contains the DRIVE AGX Pegasus AI car computer, which processes the simulated sensor data.

The driving decisions from DRIVE Constellation Vehicle are fed back into DRIVE Constellation Simulator, enabling bit-accurate, timing-accurate hardware-in-the-loop testing, says NVIDIA.

NVIDIA says that safety agencies such as testing, certification, inspection, and training provider TÜV SÜD are already using the platform to formulate their self-driving validation standards.

“TÜV SÜD is looking for simulation tools that are trustworthy, robust, and scalable for the approval of autonomous vehicles,” said Houssem Abdellatif, global head of Autonomous Driving and ADAS at TÜV SÜD. “NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation provides a powerful and highly scalable solution to achieve this goal.”

NVIDIA also announced that Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) is the first customer of DRIVE Constellation. 

According to NVIDIA, its founder and CEO Jensen Huang demonstrated the scalability of the DRIVE Constellation platform seamlessly performing driving tests in the cloud. This large-scale validation capability is comparable to operating an entire fleet of test vehicles, however, it is able to accomplish years of testing in a fraction of the time, says NVIDIA.

DRIVE Constellation is an open platform, according to NVIDIA, into which ecosystem partners can integrate their environment models, vehicle models, sensor models, and traffic scenarios. By incorporating datasets from the broader simulation ecosystem, the platform can generate comprehensive, diverse, and complex testing environments.

To this end, NVIDIA reports, Cognata, a simulation company, announced that its scenario and traffic model can be supported on DRIVE Constellation. With Cognata’s traffic models, developers can define a number of vehicles and other road users, as well as their behavior, based on real-world traffic behavior.

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IPG Automotive, a leading automotive simulation company, is another ecosystem partner working with NVIDIA. Its simulation software, CarMaker, is used to create virtual vehicle prototypes, including models of all main vehicle subsystems. Developers can include test vehicle responses to changes in steering, road surface, suspension, powertrain, and vehicle control systems for functional development.


Mark Miller is a contributing writer to SAE International. He has worked as a technology writer and editor for IBM and other advanced information technology firms. His areas of concentration include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, analytics and Internet of Things technologies.