Waabi to use Nvidia chip to power autonomous trucking solution

Toronto startup has also launched a model it says can reason in 3D space and time.

Toronto-based autonomous vehicle (AV) startup Waabi has partnered with semiconductor giant Nvidia on a new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solution for the trucking sector.

Waabi plans to integrate Nvidia’s DRIVE Thor chip into its AI-driven trucking system, Waabi Driver, beginning in 2025. Waabi Driver is a trainable system that uses AI, sensors, and cameras to navigate roads safely and efficiently without human intervention.

DRIVE Thor, the successor to DRIVE Orin, is Nvidia’s AI compute platform designed for automotive safety. DRIVE Thor unifies functions such as automated and assisted driving, parking, driver and occupant monitoring, and entertainment into a single platform.

In a statement, Waabi said DRIVE Thor offers “the performance and reliability needed to help safely achieve billions of driverless miles,” and delivers 1,000 teraflops of compute, which can be likened to the combined processing power of thousands of high-end consumer computers operating simultaneously.

Launched out of stealth in 2021 by founder, CEO, and AI leader Raquel Urtasun with over $100 million CAD in initial capital from big-name investors, Waabi first revealed its proprietary AV simulator, Waabi World, in early 2022. Later that year, the startup unveiled its first product: the Waabi Driver, which includes both vehicle-mounted sensors and automated driving software. 

Waabi Driver uses Waabi World and generative AI to simulate the driving experience, training it to respond to a wide variety of common scenarios and rare edge cases before deploying it on the road for testing.

Last September, Waabi signed its first go-to-market partnership with Uber’s logistics arm, Uber Freight, which gives the startup access to $18 billion USD worth of freight under management across 100,000 carriers, 5,000 shippers, and more than two million drivers.

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Waabi is not the only AV company using Nvidia’s DRIVE Thor chip. Nuro, Plus, WeRide, and Hyper are some of the other companies that Nvidia recently announced would be using DRIVE Tho to power their consumer and commercial fleets.

“To realize the promise of self-driving at scale, we need to rethink how we are building autonomous systems,” Urtasun said in a statement. 

“Bringing together our technology and best-in-class engineering teams, who are operating at the cutting edge of AI, will rapidly advance the development and production of autonomous trucks at scale,” Urtasun added.

In February, the Canadian government signed a letter of intent with Nvidia to boost AI compute capacity across the country. The AI chip maker currently boasts $2 trillion USD in market value,  equivalent to Canada’s entire gross domestic product.

Also this month, Waabi unveiled Copilot4D, a new AI model that can not only understand and operate in a 3D environment but also can learn and make decisions based on how objects move and change over time, in any setting, be it a computer-generated environment like Waabi World or the real world.

“Similar to how today’s large language models learn by predicting the next word in a sentence, Copilot4D learns by predicting how a machine will observe the world in the future from its LiDAR [light detection and ranging] sensors,” Urtasun said in a recent LinkedIn post.

Feature image source Waabi.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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