DARPA Awards NVIDIA Major Research Contract

December 13, 2012

The contract is for the development of embedded processor technologies that enable dramatic improvements in the ability of autonomous vehicles to collect and process data from onboard sensors.

SANTA CLARA, CA /Marketwire/ -- NVIDIA has been awarded a contract worth up to $20 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to research embedded processor technologies that could lead to dramatic improvements in the ability of autonomous vehicles to collect and process data from onboard sensors.

DARPA is the U.S. Defense Department's research and development arm. The five-year contract, awarded under DARPA's Power Efficiency Revolution For Embedded Computing Technologies (PERFECT) program, will fund research for processors 75-times more energy efficient than current embedded solutions. The goal is to enable surveillance and computer vision systems in ground and airborne vehicles to collect and analyze vastly more data than can be processed today in real time.

Existing embedded processors deliver about 1 gigaflop of performance (1 billion floating point operations each second) per watt. The NVIDIA program, known as Project Osprey, will research low-power circuits and extremely efficient architectures and programming systems that enable 75 gigaflops per watt, using process technologies as advanced as 7 nanometer (nm) compared with today's 28 nm process.

"The technologies developed with this program can transform the capabilities of embedded systems, making autonomous vehicles more practical and intelligent," said Steve Keckler, Senior Director of Architecture Research at NVIDIA. "This research will help NVIDIA continue to advance mobile computing for both government and consumer applications."

Project Osprey will leverage NVIDIA's strengths in heterogeneous computing and parallel processing technology, which enable more efficient processing than traditional CPUs. NVIDIA processors are used in a wide variety of embedded applications today, including automobiles made by Audi, BMW, Tesla, and Lamborghini; aircraft, including the F-22 Raptor; and U.S. Army tanks.

NVIDIA researchers will work on the program with academic partners at the University of Utah and the University of Virginia.

Project Osprey, which is now underway, could, combined with two optional additional phases, continue over the next five and one-half years.

For more information, visit the DARPA PERFECT program Web site.

NVIDIA awakened the world to computer graphics when it invented the GPU in 1999. Today, its processors power a broad range of products, from smartphones to supercomputers. NVIDIA's mobile processors are used in cell phones, tablets, and auto infotainment systems. PC gamers rely on GPUs to enjoy spectacularly immersive worlds. Professionals use them to create 3D graphics and visual effects in movies and to design everything from golf clubs to jumbo jets. And researchers use GPUs to advance the frontiers of science with high-performance computing. The company has more than 5000 patents issued, allowed or filed, including ones covering ideas essential to modern computing.

NVIDIA and the NVIDIA logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corp. in the U.S. and other countries. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice.

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