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3 Things with Danny Shapiro, Cheryl Thompson, and Stephanie Brinley

Three people. Three topics. Infinite insights.
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Danny Shapiro

Danny Shapiro (Image: NVIDIA)

Autonomous Vehicles

Danny Shapiro, Senior Director of Automotive, NVIDIA

What’s the biggest technical challenge for getting beyond Level 2+?

The computational requirements for Level 3 to fully autonomous vehicles grows exponentially from Level 2 and Level 2+. High-performance AI supercomputers are necessary to achieve safety and robustness at these levels of autonomy. NVIDIA DRIVE is the world's first scalable AI platform that delivers the computing horsepower necessary for autonomous driving. Co-developed hardware and software work together to enable the production of automated and self-driving vehicles, combining deep learning, sensor fusion, and surround vision for a safe driving experience. Hundreds of companies around the world are developing on NVIDIA DRIVE, including virtually every automaker, truck maker, tier 1 supplier, robotaxi company, mapping company, and AV startup.

What’s the biggest misunderstanding regarding autonomous driving?

Often in the past, the amount of compute and the complexity of the software required for autonomous driving has been underestimated.  By building a centralized, energy-efficient AI supercomputer into the vehicle, car manufacturers will be able to update the software over-the-air, add new features and capabilities, as well as implement new business models that can leverage the increase in value of the vehicle over time. Manufacturers must look at reinventing their traditional business models by integrating a single architecture that is richly programmable and can scale -- allowing OEMs to have an entire fleet, from high-end models to entry level, that can be upgraded over time with new automated and intelligent features.

Where will we first see regular AV deployment: commercial or private?

The rollout of fully autonomous AVs will continue to occur in phases, starting with commercial applications. There are currently dozens of pilot tests operating around the world, albeit many suspended the last few months due to COVID-19. This has put the spotlight on the importance of simulation for testing and validating AVs, like the NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation platform, where we’re dispatching virtual vehicles in virtual environments to continue making progress on self-driving technology. In terms of deployment, we expect geofenced deployments to roll out over the next several years, with specialized vehicles operating in areas like ports and mines, long-haul trucks hitting the highway along hub-to-hub routes, and low-speed, last-mile delivery. This will be followed by passenger shuttles or ride-hailing services operating in specific regions.

Cheryl Thompson

Cheryl Thompson (Image: CADIA)

Diversity & Inclusion

Cheryl Thompson, Founder and CEO, Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement

Diversity and Inclusion: What are they?

Diversity is the presence of a diverse set of voices, experiences, and perspectives at the table including race, gender, ethnicity, disabilities, thinking style, age, culture, etc.  Inclusion is ensuring all voices at the table feel comfortable contributing, and are respected and valued.  Diversity is not sustainable without Inclusion. 

What is the biggest misperception about Diversity and Inclusion?

Diversity and Inclusion will not happen organically.  Real progress requires intentional focus in the development of the entire leadership pipeline.  It requires leadership commitment and systemic change in the way we recruit, hire, develop, assess and promote talent.

What is the single most important thing that people should know about Diversity and Inclusion?

Diversity and Inclusion give companies a competitive advantage in better solutions, products, services and performance.  Everyone has a role to play – you can be an alley by playing an active role in someone’s career growth and by learning more about their lived experience.

Stephanie Brinley

Stephanie Brinley (Image: IHS Markit)

Automotive Trends

Stephanie Brinley, Principal Auto Analyst, IHS Markit

Will sedans become a tiny segment?

Sedans are a body type available across a wide range of sizes and price points rather than a segment of their own. This wide availability will contribute to there being a floor for sales of sedans, and for that body type to remain significant. I do think popularity will ebb and flow over time as well. In 2000, the US saw sedan sales of 7.3 million units, 42% of the market. In 2019, market share for sedans was only 21%, but volume was still 3.7 million units. I think the option remains important, though there is potential for share to continue to slip.

Has cheap gas pushed electric vehicles back—way back?

No. EVs are gaining image ground and becoming increasingly attractive options regardless of fuel cost. This process continues to be slow, but EVs were never going to trip from an obligation and fringe choice to a mainstream option and an object of desire by being cheaper to fuel. They need emotion, and saving money doesn’t create a lasting emotional bond.

Will the midsize truck market eat into the full-size market because of affordability concerns?

This also seems unlikely at a level great enough to harm full-size pick-up sales, though there could be some nibbling, and it also may depend on the length and depth of the recession. The decision for buying a mid-size pick-up truck instead of full-size tends to be about preference for size more than settling for a cheaper truck. There are also more configurations and trim levels available within full-size pick-ups—which also means more choices for different sizes of wallets.


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