What sets Rao apart from others attempting the same thing is the fact that Intel last year bought his San Diego company, Nervana, for $400 million. The Google cat project in 2012 was carried out on 16,000 Intel central processors inside Google's vast "farms" of computer servers. When Nvidia found out hedge funds and others were using its chips for deep learning, it made a quick strategic move: tailor its chips and develop software tools to support neural networks. In 2016, it acquired Movidius, a Silicon Valley company that specializes in making smart vision chips for consumer devices, including drones.
Tesla already uses Nvidia chips to process the artificial intelligence software that guides its Autopilot technology. Toyota joins Audi, Mercedes, Volvo and other major auto industry players using Nvidia chips for research and production vehicles. Shares closed Wednesday at $121.29, up $18.35, or 17.83%, over Tuesday's closing price. Nvidia shares have nearly tripled over the last year as the company moves beyond its computer game base to provide chips that power artificial intelligence applications in areas that include automobiles and cloud services.