Tesla makes another move to independently develop AI chips for driverless cars

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It is reported that in Tesla’s most recent earnings conference call, the company’s CEO Elon Musk said: “For the past two or three years, our company has been in a state of semi-stealth development, and now it is time to open up to the public. The masses have proven themselves.”

To prove itself, its secret weapon is the Tesla computer, known to the outside world as “Hardware 3.” This is a hardware device independently developed and designed by Tesla, which is planned to be used in Model S, Model X and Model 3 series models, and further improve the performance of these unmanned vehicles through data collection and analysis.

As we all know, Tesla has been using Nvidia’s Drive platform before. So, why switch to the development strategy of independent research and development now? According to the company’s introduction, it hopes to meet its own requirements for efficiency through these independent designs.

Pete Bannon, director of the Hardware 3 project, said: “According to the plan, the hardware upgrade will be fully implemented from next year. For us, the core capability is to realize the efficient operation of the neural network at the basic bare metal architecture level. Because We need to do these calculations in the real environment, that is, clearly know the operating mode of the GPU or CPU, not just limited to the simulated environment. With the support of existing memory, we need to complete a large number of calculations quickly and efficiently.”

According to Musk, when the company used Nvidia hardware, the efficiency of computer vision software was 200 frames per second. But with the self-developed chip, the efficiency will be increased to 2000 frames per second.

In addition, artificial intelligence analyst James Wang also said that with self-developed chips, Tesla can better control the future in its own hands. Taking Apple as an example, he said that it is precisely because of the self-designed SoC that the iPhone can lead the way in terms of performance and market sales. So, for Tesla, the same will be the case.

Next, Tesla will be able to meet its development needs through its own developed chips according to its own development pace. That is to say, if one day they suddenly discover that the company has a hardware shortage problem, they don’t need to passively count on other companies to help solve it. However, in view of the huge cost of this research and development project, it is also a major project. If the research and development of this project can be successfully completed under the condition of ensuring normal and sufficient funds, it will become the company’s unique competitive advantage and greatly promote its business development.

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