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Nvidia strengthens relationships with Chinese EV producers as vehicle AI battle heats up

BYD's electric vehicle (EV) Qin travels on a street in Beijing, China October 31, 2023

DETROIT, March 18 (mod1s) - Nvidia (NVDA.O), opens new tab said on Monday it is increasing its cooperation with BYD (002594.SZ), opens new tab and other Chinese automakers that are racing to produce self-driving cars and AI-augmented infotainment technologies to compete in global markets. 

BYD, which surpassed Tesla (TSLA.O), opens new tab last year as the world's No. 1 electric car producer, would employ Nvidia's next generation of in-vehicle processors, dubbed Drive Thor, to allow increasing degrees of autonomous driving and other digital capabilities, Nvidia said.

BYD will also employ Nvidia technology to simplify manufacturing and its supply chain, as well as to construct virtual showrooms, Nvidia Vice President for Automotive Danny Shapiro stated during a conference call. 

"Drive Thor is going into BYD (vehicles) next year," Shapiro added. 

Chinese automakers BYD, Xpeng (9868.HK), opens new tab and GAC Aion's Hyper brand are among numerous automakers and autonomous truck companies who announced increased ties with Nvidia on Monday as part of the chipmaker's GTC developer conference in San Jose, California. Chinese manufacturers Zeekr, a subsidiary of Geely, and Li Auto (2015.HK), opens new tab have earlier indicated they will employ Nvidia's Drive Thor technology. 

Chinese car firms are flocking to Nvidia as they leverage modern technology to compensate for what they now lack in global brand awareness. BYD and its competitors are trying to boost sales in Europe, Southeast Asia and other regions outside China, while competing with Tesla and other established Western car brands in their home market. 

"There's a massive number of Chinese automakers," Shapiro remarked. "They have a lot of incentives in place to innovate, a lot of regulation that’s favorable" to creating increased degrees of automated driving.

Among other new automotive and industrial alliances announced by Nvidia on Monday is a cooperation with U.S. software firm Cerence (CRNC.O), opens new tab to adapt massive language model artificial-intelligence systems for in-car computing, Shapiro said. 

Chinese computer giant Lenovo (0992.HK), opens new tab is also partnering with Nvidia on broad language model deployment, Nvidia said. 

Soundhound (SOUN.O), opens new tab will leverage Nvidia technology to build an in-car voice command system that might enable a vehicle owner to receive information from a virtual owners handbook using speech commands.


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