Taiwan’s Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, and Nvidia, the leading chip company, have unveiled a groundbreaking collaboration to establish “AI factories.” These advanced data centres will leverage Nvidia’s cutting-edge chips and software for diverse applications, with a particular focus on self-driving cars. This partnership was announced at Foxconn’s annual tech showcase in Taipei.
Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, and Foxconn’s Chairman, Liu Young-way, shared their vision for these “AI factories,” emphasising that they represent a new paradigm in manufacturing. According to Huang, these data centres are essentially facilities that produce intelligence, ushering in a novel era of data-driven production. The key concept is to use artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance processes and products continually.
Huang illustrated how these “AI factories” would play a pivotal role in the development and maintenance of autonomous vehicle fleets. He presented a hand-drawn sketch showcasing how data collected by self-driving cars during their operations would be sent to the AI factory. The AI factory, equipped with Nvidia’s technology, would then use this data to improve software and subsequently update the entire AI fleet. This cycle of data collection, analysis, and software enhancement is expected to result in more advanced and safer self-driving vehicles. Huang also suggested that this concept of “AI factories” wouldn’t be limited to a single industry; in the future, they could become a staple in various sectors.
Nvidia, known for its influential position in the chip industry, announced that these AI factories would be founded on its accelerated computing platform, which includes its state-of-the-art GH200 superchip. The company’s value skyrocketed in 2023, crossing the trillion-dollar mark, driven primarily by the pivotal role of its chips in AI applications. The partnership with Foxconn to build AI factories aligns with Nvidia’s mission to be at the forefront of AI innovation.
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Foxconn, renowned as the primary supplier for Apple’s iPhones, is eager to replicate its success in manufacturing personal computers and smartphones as it ventures into the electric vehicle sector. This collaboration with Nvidia is an extension of their joint efforts, which began in January. They aimed to develop autonomous vehicle platforms, with Foxconn responsible for manufacturing electronic control units based on Nvidia’s DRIVE Orin chip for global distribution. According to Liu, Foxconn’s goal is to transition from being a manufacturing service company to a platform solution company, with smart cities and smart manufacturing as potential future applications for AI factories.
The partnership between Foxconn and Nvidia to create “AI factories” signifies a significant step towards integrating AI into manufacturing processes, particularly in the field of self-driving cars. This innovative approach has the potential to revolutionise industries beyond automotive, making AI factories a common feature across various sectors. With Nvidia’s cutting-edge technology and Foxconn’s manufacturing expertise, the future of intelligent production appears promising.