NVIDIA Inside Some of Today’s Hottest Cars

Posted on March 31, 2014 10:00 AM by J.D. Kane

Earlier this month, we ran a news story about Lamborghini’s new V10-powered baby supercar, the Huracan, which runs an NVIDIA Tegra 3-powered dash display.

Well, last week in San Jose, California, Techgage overlord Rob and I both attended NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference, and while it was a veritable feast of information on NVIDIA’s applications of its various endeavors, one particular application of the company’s technology grabbed our attention harder than most.

BMW 750Li Drive 02.jpg

At NVIDIA’s behest, Audi, BMW, and Tesla all had a few of their finest sedans and 2-door convertibles available for test drives for GTC attendees. During a lull between lectures, Rob and I signed up for a drive in a BMW 750Li super-sedan. Although it was powered by BMW’s yummy 4.4L TwinPower turbocharged V8 pumping out 445BHP, it wasn’t the engine that grabbed the attention. It wasn’t the M Sport badge or the various other performance equipment fitted to the car, either. And as impressive as the obvious high standard of the build quality was or the opulence of the interior, they weren’t why the car caught our attention.

BMW 750Li Drive 03.jpg

As you might have surmised already, the BMW 750Li we drove for around fifteen minutes up and down the streets of San Jose (with me leaning on the throttle a bit hard and playing with the shift paddles – none of that automatic transmission working the gears for me!) was equipped with a Tegra-powered central information display in the dashboard. Rob took some beautiful pictures of the display. GPS was the one function we actually tested, but if we had a lot more time (and, I confess, if we had thought about it when we were in the car) we would have just played with the dash display, just to see everything it had to offer.

BMW 750Li Drive 04.jpg

As it was, though, the entire car is hugely impressive. You truly know where your $91,000+ (est) goes once you plunk down a lot of cool coin for one. And it’s a small yet significant indication of not just NVIDIA’s capabilities as a technology company, but also of the ever-growing integration between the automotive world and the world of chips and software.

If Rob and I had more time, in fact, we would have done tests of an Audi and the small fleet of Tesla sedans there as well. Alas, as you might expect, the test drives were quite the popular thing to do at GTC.

  • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

    I loved the car, but that center dash stood out on its own. I am not sure the exact size of that screen, but it seemed bigger than my Nexus 7, and its placement made it perfect to keep an eye out on where we were headed (plus it could be seen even on a bright day). A couple of future cars, like the Audi TT, will include a Tegra-powered cluster as well.

    • JD Kane

      Makes me wonder if the HUD (heads-up display), one of the finest executions of such that I’ve ever seen, on the Beemer was NVIDIA-powered as well.

      • http://techgage.com/ Rob Williams

        Just the center dash was. I have no idea what powered the digital cluster.

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