It’s been an interesting past few years for Nvidia. Amid its failed attempts to purchase Arm from Softbank (opens in new tab), the GPU maker has been ramping up production to help deal with the chip shortage. It's even building a giant AI research computer with Meta (opens in new tab), the company formerly known as Facebook, which Nvidia recently usurped as the 7th largest company in the US (opens in new tab).
But what's next for Nvidia now that the Arm deal has finally been taken off the table? According to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, it's all about moving forward with the "metaverse," Omniverse, and self-driving cars.
In an interview with VentureBeat (opens in new tab) Huang talks about the strategies Nvidia will use moving forward in spite of the Arm deal not going ahead. Unsurprisingly, it involves making chips for whatever architecture makes sense at the time.
"We have a 20-year license to Arm's intellectual property," Huang told VentureBeat. "And we'll continue to take advantage of all that and all the markets. And that's about it. Keep building CPUs, GPUs (graphics processing units), and DPUs (data processing units)."
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But the future is also leaning towards new technologies like Nvidia's scalable, powerhouse of a 3D simulator, called Omniverse. It's largely used for simulating real situations in a way that can be collaborated on and tested before being put into real production. Because of this, it's often linked with the buzzword of the moment, the "metaverse," or at least the potential to make realistic 3D spaces. It seems to be getting a lot of use by businesses, outside of Nvidia's own goals to make a digital Earth 2 for climate modelling (opens in new tab).
"[Companies are using Omniverse] for connecting designers and creators," said Huang. "They're using it to simulate logistics warehouses, simulate factories. They're using it for synthetic data generation because we simulate sensors physically and accurately. You could use it for simulating data for training AIs that are collected from LiDAR, radars, and of course cameras."
When it comes to metaverse speculation, Huang was less specific, but does hope that any such project is an open platform that uses Pixar's Universal Scene Description (a "software platform for collaboratively constructing animated 3D scenes," according to the company), which is what Omniverse uses.
Something Huang is certain of is Nvidia's future with autonomous vehicles, starting with robots that operate within factories and warehouses or make short-distance deliveries.
“I think there will be thousands and thousands of applications of autonomous vehicles, and it's a sure thing," Huang said. "This year is going to be the inflection year for us on autonomous driving. This will be a big year for us. And then next year, it'll be even bigger next year. And in 2025, that's when we deploy our own software where we do revenue sharing with the car companies ... And so if the license was $10,000, we shared 50-50. If it’s a subscription base of $1,000 or $100 a month, we share 50-50. I think I’m pretty certain now that autonomous vehicles will be one of our largest businesses.”
With so much confidence in the autonomous driving side of its business, perhaps the next merch giveaway Nvidia sets up will be an RTX keychain rather than a keycap (opens in new tab)?