Nvidia Drive PX computer

Nvidia’s Drive PX computer uses two Tegra X1 chips and could enable autonomous cars.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET

During Nvidia’s press conference at CES 2015, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang used his time to talk about cars, specifically introducing Drive PX, a new computer that helps automakers develop self-driving cars. Not a word was mentioned of any computer gaming products or innovations.

Nvidia today is a company very focused on its automotive business, despite deep roots in computer gaming. But it is that very visual processing technology the company developed for computer games that launched it on this new path, and at this year’s CES, we expect a continuing push in that direction.

The self-driving cars of the future will need to use cameras, likely along with radars and lasers, to see the world around them. Last year, Huang showed a couple of demonstrations of how Nvidia’s visual processing technology could recognize objects in an environment, such as a parking garage, so that car’s computer could find a safe path for it.

Since then, Nvidia has shown no let-up in its automotive business, not only highlighting how its chips can process visual imagery from a camera, but also how they can power displays in car dashboards, showing drivers navigation and virtual gauges.

As such, we expect this year’s CES press conference to show off more innovation as to how its chips can enable self-driving cars of the future, and add to the richness of our in-car experiences.

Nvidia obviously sees big growth in its automotive business to warrant this focus, where its traditional business areas may have leveled out.

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Nvidia's CES 2016 press conference: Join us Monday at 6 pm PT (live blog) – CNET