It is perhaps the most important news in the auto industry of the year. Daimler and Nvidia form a close partnership. Why this is so important and what it means for the entire industry.
It is a surprising and far-reaching partnership that Daimler and Nvidia announced last night. In the future, Daimler will rely on hardware software from Nvidia to drive both the entertainment system and autonomous driving of Stage 4. The US company will provide its Nvidia Drive platform as the basis for a central computer for the future, uniform operating system from Daimler. This central computer unit then controls all the important functions of the vehicle, i.e. both autonomous driving and the entertainment system. The over-the-air updates that will then be possible also run on this platform.
At the same time, Daimler announced that cooperation with BMW and Bosch in the area of software development for autonomous driving will be paused. For Daimler, this means that all available forces will be concentrated on Nvidia. You won’t completely do without your own software development, but it can be assumed that the majority of the development will come from Nvidia. They have also announced that they will provide a “lifetime update guarantee” for the vehicles that will be equipped with the new platform. Given that a car can be between 12 and 20 years old, that’s a pretty far-reaching
This decision has major consequences for Daimler. On the one hand, one admits that the race for the software can only be won if you are looking for a strong partner outside the automotive industry. The attempt to develop everything more or less yourself, or with existing partners, has failed. It also means that you commit to a single partner for a very long time. If Nvidia has problems developing Level 4 autonomy, there is no alternative.
Nevertheless, Daimler’s step is the right one. Nvidia is not a newcomer to the industry. Central computers for cars have been developed for many years. The current Nvidia Drive platform is the third generation. The most important argument from Nvidia for Daimler will be that the Americans deliver everything from a single source. Nvidia makes its own chips that are among the best you can find on the market. The computing power of the GPUs surpasses almost the entire competition. In addition, Nvidia develops its own software based on this hardware. A big advantage for
It has been a trend in recent years that manufacturers from different industries rely on their own hardware. Tesla has been doing this for years (after working with Nvidia for a long time), but other companies are also active in this area. Samsung and Huawei are just two examples. Apple has also been building its own CPUs for more than ten years, which will soon also be used in MacBooks.
The advantage of this approach is obvious. One can already determine with the software developers during the development of the hardware. how the requirements are made. Instead of constantly having to adapt the software to hardware that you can hardly influence the further development of. This affects the entire system. It can work more efficiently, consume less electricity and be powerful where you really need it. The development cycles are also shortened.
Updates and completely new features can be made available more quickly. The advantage of purchasing the overall architecture from Nvidia also means for Daimler that you will be taking a big step in digitization. If you can meet the target date in 2024, you will be ahead of all other manufacturers worldwide, with the exception of Tesla. You have a central operating system that runs on a central platform designed by the same partner. You have over-the-air
updates for all areas of the vehicle and thus also for the after-sales market in the entertainment system. And from 2024 onwards, it will
be able to offer various forms of autonomous driving where these are permitted. Neither BMW nor Audi will be able to offer that.
Auch für Nvidia bedeutet die Partnerschaft viel. Mit der Daimler AG hat man zum ersten Mal in der Geschichte des Unternehmens einen Partner außerhalb der Tech-Szene gefunden. Mit immerhin rund zwei Millionen produzierten Fahrzeuge pro Jahr, gehört Daimler zu den größeren Anbietern. Anmerken sollte man auch, dass die Partnerschaft zwischen beiden Unternehmen nicht exklusiv ist. Nvidia hat also die Möglichkeit zumindest seine Plattform Nvidia Drive auch an andere Hersteller zu verkaufen. Auch wenn die Softwareentwicklung, die man mit Daimler erledigt, natürlich exklusiv bleibt, öffnet der
gestern angekündigte Deal für Nvidia völlig neue Möglichkeiten.
The deal is an absolute game changer for the automotive industry. With Nvidia, Daimler has grabbed one of the best available partners on the market. Even if the decision to put all cards on Nvidia is not without risks, it offers a long-term perspective for both sides. The other manufacturers will have a hard time countering this.
This is just the tip of the iceberg that the automotive industry should take note of. Nicole Scott and Don Dalhmann unpack the announcement and look at what this means for the future of the automotive industry.