|I'm looking for some connection between Nvidia and Ambarella. AMBA is a fabless semiconductor designer of high definition system on a chip (SoC) cameras. They became involved with computer vision chips when they purchased a small Italian company, VisLab, that was already working on a test vehicle to showcase the value of their vision sensors. VisLab and Ambarella satisfactorily demonstrated the test vehicle in Italy shortly after this year's CES.|
Why looking for a connection between mighty Nvidia and mite Ambarella? Ambarella CEO Fermi Wang and CTO Les Kohn have a good reputation in the valley, so I have read, for producing new and useful chips. In July or early August the began sampling their CV2 chip, the chip most suited to handling the vision sensing functions of an autonomous auto.
Although Nvidia receives all kinds of praise for their use of large arrays of their graphics processing units to provide the Artificial Intelligence functions needed for the autonomous auto, I have seen very little said about what they use to supply the sensor information that is fed to the AI. You read of the use of RADAR, and LIDAR, and unnamed other sensors that may include high quality, high resolution camera chips.
The connections? First, during their 2nd Quarter conference call Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore tried to get some specifics on the reception that the CV series was receiving. This passed between Moore and Fermi:
Today with the CV2 and CV22, we are really providing a perception solution for those customers and being well received, and I will say that we have several very serious engagements in this autonomous vehicle category right now. And I also want to add another point, which is in the front camera ADAS category, where Nvidia is not now there, I think our main competitor is really Mobileye. And in fact, in order to accelerate the time to market, we kind of focus on customer and partners that are developing their own algorithms.
And then just to clarify that, I mean the perception module that you are talking about, I mean you actually in some cases could be sitting alongside in video and complementing the functionality of Nvidia solution?
That’s correct. In fact, I think some of our engagement is in that kind of category.
Four weeks later, Ambarella presents at a Morgan Stanley technical conference. I have no recording or transcript of the presentation. AMBA officials also talk directly with Moore. After the conference, Moore pens a report in which he names the four semis most likely to benefit from autonomous autos. One of the four is Nvidia. Another is Ambarella, which is also designated to be the one with the most upside. Moore, in the note to clients summing up the conference and the selection of AMBA, states the following:
We expect Ambarella to win business complementing Nvidia solutions, with the main GPU (graphics processing unit) offloading image resolution and perception tasks to the specialized chip," Moore said.
Did someone from Ambarella finally say something specific to Moore about interest in their CV series? And more specifically about Nvidia interest?
One other note. Moore is not the only respected analyst to be high on Ambarella. (Most have given up on them.) Matthew Ramsay, a five star Tipranks analyst (I don't know how well Tipranks is regarded.), on moving over to Cowens in September, named Ambarella as one of his four best plays in semiconductors.
The importance of my search is simply that any announcement of an acquisition, partnership or other relationship between Nvidia and Ambarella would see AMBA's depressed stock price double in a day and a half.