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From PCs to EVs: Nvidia Provides Supercomputing to China’s Latest 'Tesla Killer'

NIO has recently unveiled its latest model, the ET7 luxury sedan. It aims to battle the Tesla Model S for supremacy in China, offering an advanced autonomous driving suite powered by Nvidia’s Adam supercomputer.
NIO ET7 7 photos
NIO ET7NIO ET7NIO ET7NIO ET7NIO ET7 InteriorNvidia Adam Supercomputer
The name might ring a bell for Formula E fans as NIO has been competing in the series since the inaugural season under various names like Team China Racing, NEXTEV NIO, or NIO 333 Racing.

However, in Asia, the company founded in 2014 is known as the ‘Chinese Tesla’, manufacturing a series of electric SUVs like the 7-seater, full-size ES8, the mid-size ES6, or the luxurious EC6 coupe SUV.

Recently, at an event held in Chengdu, NIO unveiled its first attempt at a luxury sedan. Named ET7, it is capable of advanced autonomous driving using 33 high-performance sensing units, including 11 8-megapixel cameras, a long-range high-resolution LiDAR, 5 millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and two high-precision positioning units.

The brain of this system is a supercomputer called Adam, which is manufactured by American tech giant Nvidia. Using four DRIVE Orin processors, the unit enables a total computing power of 1,016 TOPS, making it one of the most powerful platforms to run in a vehicle.

The first two processors handle 8 gigabytes of data produced by the ET7’s sensor suite every second, while the third is used as a backup to guarantee that the system can still operate safely in any situation.

This brings us to the fourth Orin, which is programmed to enable what Nvidia calls ‘local training’, a process that continuously improves the vehicle’s assists with fleet learning as well as personalizing the driving experience based on individual driver preferences.

Nio's Autonomous Driving (NAD) tech is embedded into all ET7s, but to gain full access, customers must purchase an optional subscription service that costs the equivalent of $107 a month.

As for the other goodies that the car has to offer, it’s worth mentioning it be available with three lithium-ion battery options, an entry-level 70 kWh version, a mid-level 100 kWh unit, and a massive 150 kWh pack.

The driving range is listed at 310 miles (499 km), 435 miles (700 km), and ‘over’ 620 miles (998 km), respectively, according to the New European Driving Cycle. Still, since we all know that NEDC ratings rarely reflect reality, potential customers should expect those figures to differ in real-world situations.

In terms of performance, NIO’s flagship sedan uses a 180-kW permanent magnet motor in the front and a 300-kW induction motor in the rear for a combined maximum output of 644 hp (480 kW).

This is enough to propel the ET7 to 62 mph (100 kph) from a standstill in 3.9 seconds, quicker than an ICE-powered Mustang GT500 but still slower than a Tesla Model S.

However, the manufacturer states that the car's philosophy is more luxury-oriented as it offers standard features like heated and ventilated front and rear seats, a 23 speaker, 1,000-watt sound system, soft close doors, or the company’s second-generation digital cockpit, which features a new 12.8-inch AMOLED central display.

The new model is now available for pre-order on NIO’s dedicated app with deliveries estimated to begin in the first quarter of 2022. Prices start around $69,200 for the 70 kWh. Unfortunately, it's less than likely that we will see an NIO dealership in the U.S. anytime soon.

 
 
 
 
 

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