Nvidia recently revealed a new processor called Drive Thor, which will help automate vehicles. These new processors will be a part of carmaker Zeekr’s 001 EV, a Chinese car brand, and will be based on Nvidia’s groundbreaking Hopper graphics processing unit. The goal here is to use AI software to promote self-driving cars and make cars fully independent of any driver. However, Nvidia also expects a tier of lower-end variations of Thor to power technologies like lane keeping and automatic emergency braking.
In 2024, Nvidia had planned to announce a chip called “Atlan” but decided to drop it and launch Thor instead. Thor is twice the planned speed of Atlan, eight times the speed of their current processor, Orin, and is capable of processing 2 quadrillion operations per second. Thor also incorporates a feature that can accelerate a powerful AI called Transformers.
As the automotive industry grows and revolutionizes, the demand for faster processors is increasing as car manufacturers demand more semiconductor chips and electronic control units to oversee everything. To stay up with the demand, chip designers are investing heavily in the new market, with Nvidia having $11 billion in automotive chip orders and Qualcomm having $19 billion in automotive orders.
Thor, will by far be the biggest processor on the market, boasting 77 billion transistors. The processor also borrows CPU cores from Nvidia’s 2023 Grace Processor for conventional tasks and uses GPU technology called Ada Lovelace architecture for gaming and design.
Thor will not only be used in cars but also in robots and medical equipment, which involves doing multiple tasks at one time. It will also run three different operating systems – Linux, QNX, and Android – for different tasks. This is by far the peak of computing achieved to this date.