Tesla and AMD tipped in development of AI chip for autonomous cars

Brittany A. Roston - Sep 20, 2017, 5:20pm CDT
Tesla and AMD tipped in development of AI chip for autonomous cars

Tesla has been tipped in a project to develop its own artificial intelligence chip, and sources claim it is working with AMD to refine this chip. Such a chip may pave the way for a future in which Tesla vehicles are fully autonomous, but details are slight at this time. Sources indicate that Tesla is developing its chip on top of a foundation of AMD intellectual property, and that testing with an early implementation is already underway.

Though Tesla hasn’t yet given consumers access to a car that can fully drive itself, the company has made great strides toward that eventual goal. The company has indicated at various times that fully autonomous vehicles aren’t too far into the future — we can count the years on one hand, possibly. But still, there’s work to be done.

Speaking to CNBC, sources claimed that Tesla is developing its own artificial intelligence chip specifically for self-driving vehicles. This work is supposedly being done in conjunction with AMD whose intellectual property is in some way involved. Tesla has reportedly already received back samples of the chip which is being tested.

The sources go on to state that more than 50 individuals are part of the team working on this project under Tesla’s head of autopilot hardware and software Jim Keller; he joined the company early last year. Keller has a history at both Apple and AMD. However, neither Tesla nor AMD have commented on the report.

The development would represent a distancing from NVIDIA, which provides GPUs for use with Tesla’s current Autopilot hardware. Using its own hardware would offer some benefits, such as better cost controls plus the ability to tailor the hardware specifically to its own needs. When Tesla may begin using these chips in its vehicles isn’t stated.


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