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Interview with Jensen Huang: Nvidia’s post-Arm strategy, Omniverse and self-driving cars

Interview with Jensen Huang: Nvidia's post-Arm strategy, Omniverse and self-driving cars

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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang couldn’t fulfill his dream of acquiring Arm for $80 billion. Regulators delayed the deal, and Huang canceled the deal after “trying our best.”

But his business is still going strong. Nvidia reported revenue of $7.64 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter ended Jan. 30, up 53% from a year earlier. The Gaming Market, Data Center and Professional Visualization platforms each achieved record revenue for the quarter and year.

This shows that the company has a lot of scope as it determines what it will do in the wake of the collapse of the Arm Accords. And Huang said he had high hopes for his three-chip strategy, the Omniverse, Metaverse and self-driving cars. I had little time to interview Huang after the company announced its earnings this week.

Here is an edited transcript of our interview.

VentureBeat: What is your post-Arm strategy? Do you need to communicate your strategic direction in light of [the Arm deal being called off]?

Jensen Huang: Not really anything. Because we never finished combining with Arm. Thus, all the strategies that would have resulted from the combination were never mentioned. And so our strategy is exactly the same. We do accelerated computing wherever there are CPUs (central processing units). And so we’ll do that for x86. And we’ll do that for Arm. We have a whole bunch of ARM processors and system-on-chips (SoCs) in development. And we are passionate. We do all of this. We have a 20-year license to Arm’s intellectual property. And we will continue to take advantage of all this and all markets. And that’s about it. Keep building CPUs, GPUs (graphics processing units), and DPUs (data processing units).

VB: So that’s your three-point strategy? Would you consider RISC-V now that the Arm deal isn’t happening?

Houang: We use RISC-V. We are RISC-V users inside our GPUs. We use it in several areas. For system controllers, inside the Bluefield GPU there is a RISC-V acceleration engine, if you will, a programmable engine. And we use RISC-V when it makes sense. We use Arm when it makes sense. We use x86 when it makes sense.

VB: And how do you see the metaverse evolving? It seems everyone is much more excited about the metaverse, and the Omniverse is still part of that conversation.

Houang: Let’s see. Omniverse for Business is tried and tested in around 700 different companies around the world. We have already concluded some major licenses. And so our numbers are off to a good start. People use it for all sorts of things. They use it to connect designers and creators. They use it to simulate logistics warehouses, simulate factories. They use it for synthetic data generation as we physically and accurately simulate sensors. You can use it to simulate data for AI training collected from LiDAR, radar and of course cameras. And so they use it for the simulation part of the software development process. You must validate the software as part of the release process. And you can put Omniverse in the validation stream for robotic applications. People also use it for digital twins.

A scene from an Ericsson Omniverse environment.

VB: You’re going to create the biggest digital twin of them all, aren’t you? [Nvidia plans to make a digital twin of the Earth as part of its Earth 2 simulation, which will use AI and the world’s fastest supercomputers to simulate climate change and predict how the planet’s climate could change over decades].

Houang: We are in the process of building or studying the architecture and building the ultimate digital twin.

VB: And do you have the impression that we are also heading towards an open metaverse? Will it be sufficiently open as opposed to a set of walled gardens?

Houang: I really hope it is open and I believe it will be opened with Universal Scene Description (USD). As you know, we are one of the biggest contributors, the main contributor, to the USD today. And it was invented by Pixar. It has been embraced by so many different content developers. Adobe adopted it, and we got a lot of people to adopt it. I hope everyone will go to USD and then it will basically become the HTML of the metaverse.

VB: What is your level of confidence in the automotive division and how are we progressing with self-driving cars? Do you feel like we’re getting back on track after the pandemic?

Houang: I am certain that we will have autonomous vehicles all over the world. They all have their areas of operation. And some of that is just within the confines of a very large warehouse. They call them AMR, Autonomous Mobile Robots. You could have them inside walled factories, and so they could move goods and inventory. You could deliver last mile goods, like Neuro and others. All of these big companies are doing last mile delivery. All of these apps are very doable, as long as you don’t overpromise.

And I think there will be thousands and thousands of self-driving vehicle applications, and that’s for sure. This year will be the year of inflection for us on autonomous driving. It will be a big year for us. And then next year, it will be even bigger next year. And in 2025, that’s when we roll out our own software where we share the revenue with the automakers.

And so if the license was $10,000, we split 50-50. If it’s a subscription base of $1000 or $100 per month, we split 50-50. I think I’m fairly certain now that self-driving vehicles will be one of our biggest businesses.

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