BB8 self-driving car can already do a variety of real-world auto functions

Proving that the race to develop autonomous driving technology isn’t just limited to the auto industry, another Silicon Valley titan is getting its hands dirty trying to develop its own version of the technology. A lot of us are familiar with Nvidia for its involvement in consumer electronics, as well as the video game and semiconductor industries. But if this video tells us anything, it’s that the tech giant is also developing its own self-driving system and it’s actually running a lot smoother than many of us thought.

The company showcased the gains it has made in the development of the technology using what looks to be a self-driving Lincoln MKZ. It’s even given the name “BB8,” presumably in reference to the droid in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Cool name aside, Nvidia says that BB8 learned how to drive autonomously by “watching us over all kinds road driving conditions.” BB8 started its education in a parking lot using cones to help it navigate around a specific course. From there, it graduated to driving on roads with lane markers and soon enough, it was sent out to drive on highways in New Jersey. In between, BB8 also learned to navigate around construction cones and objects in its path while also proving to be deft in making hard turns, navigating around blind corners, and driving in pitch black and substandard weather conditions.

Nvidia has yet to say what its end-goal is with its autonomous driving technology. But since the company isn’t a stand-alone automaker, the smart bet is that it’s developing the tech so it could sell it, or at least partner with an existing automaker to get the product out into the market. Judging by how BB8 operates, it does look like Nvidia has already made significant gains in its development.

Source: Youtube - Nvidia

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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