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TechInsights Teardown: NIO Adam Supercomputer

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Automotive manufacturers are in the middle of the largest transition in its history as they move to fleets of electric vehicles (EVs) in favor of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.

While Tesla Motors has a jump start in this regard, other companies are catching up quickly. In China, there are several domestic companies that are developing home grown EVs for the domestic market and eventually internationally.

NIO is one of these companies and signed up with Nvidia to use the Nvidia Orin system-on-chip for the heart of these EV systems.

The Nvidia Drive Orin SoC is the main processor and artificial intelligence (AI) center for electric, autonomous vehicles. These vehicles will be fully programmable as AI and autonomous driving functions will be delivered through software updates and enhanced over the life of the car.

The following is a partial deep dive into the NIO Adam supercomputer conducted by TechInsights.

Summary points

  • No display
  • 128 GB LPDDR5
  • No camera

Released: September 2022

Price: $4,600

Availability: China

Target market: Automotive

Nvidia Jetson subsystem

The heart of the NIO Adam Supercomputer is the Nvidia Jetson board, which runs that supercomputer for automotive applications inside EVs. The main system-on-chip is the Nvidia Orin automotive device as well as the Micron 64 GB MLC Nand flash and 8 GB mobile LPDDR5 SDRAM memory. Other electronic components on the Nvidia subsystem include:

  • Onsemi’s LDO regulator and SPDT analog switch
  • Macronix’s serial and NOR flash memory
  • Texas Instruments’ dual Schmitt-trigger buffer, temperature sensor and LDO regulator
  • Analog Devices’ 12.5 A step-down DC-DC converter
  • Monolithic Power Systems’ DC/DC converter and 50-amp intelli-phase solution
  • Nexperia’s dual buffer

(Learn more about IC interfaces on Globalspec.com)

Main board

The main board houses the other functions as the brains of the rest of the electronic control unit of the NIO Adam Supercomputer. It is powered by the Infineon double 32-bit microcontroller and the Micron 128 GB TLC NAND flash memory and memory controller. Other electronic components on the board are:

  • Gigabit and 100BASE-T1 Ethernet transceivers from Marvell Semiconductor
  • Automotive CAN transceiver and dual SPDT analog switch from TI
  • Quad camera power protector and GMSL serializer from Analog Devices
  • Power management ICs from Infineon
  • Camera video processor from GEO Semiconductor

(Learn more about communication ICs on Globalspec.com)

GPS board

This board is essential for the operation of the navigation system of the electronic control unit inside the NIO EVs. The electronic components on this board include:

  • ST Microelectronics’ 6-axis MEMS accelerometer and gyroscope, GPS front-end module and GPS receiver
  • Nexperia’s dual inverter
  • NXP Semiconductors’ GPS LNA
  • Nisshinbo Micro Devices’ LDO regulator
  • ISSI’s serial flash memory
  • Macronix’s serial flash memory

(Learn more about MEMS devices on Globalspec.com)

Major Components

  • $646.09 — Nvidia Jetson AGX Orin Subsystem — Nvidia (Qty: 1)
  • $646.09 — Nvidia Jetson AGX Orin Subsystem — Nvidia (Qty: 1)
  • $646.09 — Nvidia Jetson AGX Orin Subsystem — Nvidia (Qty: 1)
  • $646.09 — Nvidia Jetson AGX Orin Subsystem — Nvidia (Qty: 1)
  • $107.47 — Mirror Mess pro (Qty: 4)
  • $46.26 — 14 layer buildup FR4/HF (Qty: 1)
  • $45.45 — Liquid coding enclosure (Qty: 1)
  • $34.95 — 128 GB 3D TLC NAND flash with memory controller — Micron (Qty: 4)
  • $31.32 — Heat sink (Qty: 1)