Elon Musk had been talking about Tesla developing its own chips to further develop autonomous driving since two years ago and he had eventually hired a team comprised of designers and executives that were supposed to turn that statement into a reality. Finally, the company has officially released some of the results of their research.
The company states that the homemade processor they came up with is 10 times faster than anything they can purchase from Nvidia, or anyone else for that matter, and that the chip is capable of analyzing 2,000 frames of video per second, while the current standard is only 200.
Tesla has been pushing towards designing everything for its card within the company for quite some time now and, where most automakers have multiple suppliers and sub-suppliers, Tesla has gone as far as building its own seats. This full circle allows the company to create custom solutions for their custom issues.
For the chips too, Tesla designed everything from scratch, starting from the calculator and memory circuits, which were placed one next to each other, allowing them to pass data at higher speeds. Traditionally, that is a choke point to a GPU that is used in emulation mode in order to run an AI neural net.
The idea is clever, unconventional as it is – thanks to their customization, Tesla knows exactly what the data coming in is and have a clear idea what they are expecting to get from it, hence there is less room for error.
Losing Tesla as a customer will most likely not impact Nvidia much but on the other hand, by developing its own chips, Tesla will save billions.