The announcements follow Intel's $15 billion acquisition of machine vision company Mobileye.
Nvidia has announced separate autonomous-vehicle partnerships with supplier Bosch and freight truck maker Paccar.
Bosch invited Nvidia to headline its annual ConnectedWorld conference, where the companies unveiled a compact artificial-intelligence 'supercomputer' for automobiles.
"I'm so proud to announce that the world's leading tier-one automotive supplier, the only tier one that supports every car maker in the world is building an AI car computer for the mass market," said Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang.
The AI module is the first announced system based on Nvidia's Drive PX platform, benefiting from 'Xavier' technology that can handle up to 30 trillion deep-learning operations per second. It has been built specifically for automobiles, housed in a small rugged package and consuming just 30 watts of power.
Nvidia's computing platform will be ready to handle Level 3 autonomy in production cars this year. SAE describes Level 3 as 'conditional' automation, capable of handling all driving tasks and monitoring the driving environment but sometimes requiring a human to quickly intervene.
Level 4 autonomy, which can safely handle situations in which the human driver fails to respond to a request to intervene, will be supported by Nvidia hardware by the end of 2018.
Huang suggests Nvidia's latest AI platforms are perfectly suited to the high demands of autonomous vehicles, as coded software alone cannot anticipate the "nearly infinite number of things that can happen along the road," such as dynamic shifts in weather or objects that fall onto the roadway.
"We've dedicated ourselves to build an end-to-end deep learning solution," he added. "Nearly everyone using deep learning is using our platform."
Paccar, best known for Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks, is already testing a Level 4-capable system based on the Nvidia Drive PX 2 platform. A demonstration video shows the system in action and highlights the potential market, with 300 million trucks driving an average of 1.2 trillion miles across the globe each year.