Chipmaker Nvidia, auto supplier Continental in self-driving tie-up

The logo of technology company Nvidia is seen at its headquarters in Santa Clara, California February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Nvidia Corp and German auto supplier Continental AG said on Monday they had teamed up to develop a self-driving system based on the U.S. chipmaker’s artificial intelligence platform, underscoring the need for collaboration in the fast-moving industry.

The announcement is the latest of many collaborations for Nvidia, whose Drive platform that helps enable autonomous driving is ubiquitous in the industry. The Silicon Valley-based company known for its graphics chips said last month that 320 companies involved in the development of self-driving cars use Nvidia Drive.

Automakers and their suppliers have sought alliances to share the high costs of developing self-driving cars, which are expected to start appearing in the marketplace over the next few years as so-called robo-taxis at first. Still, experts expect the transition from human-driven to automated cars could take a decade or more.

Nvidia and Continental said in a statement their self-driving vehicle system, which will integrate a range of Continental sensors, will be introduced in 2021, after a period of collaboration between engineering teams from both companies.

The companies did not disclose financial terms for the partnership.

At CES in Las Vegas last month, Nvidia announced partnerships with Uber Technologies and Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE. The company also works with electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc and China's Baidu.

Continental - which also works on self-driving with Baidu - is part of a separate consortium of automakers and suppliers working together to develop full autonomous driving systems.

Led by BMW, that alliance also brings together Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Intel Corp and Intel’s vision systems subsidiary Mobileye, with Continental handling integration of components and software. U.S. auto supplier Aptiv is also part of the alliance.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Matthew Lewis