Tesla has started to build AI chips for its semi-autonomous cars in order to advance its self-driving capabilities. Previously, Tesla was using Nvidia DRIVE, which is an immensely powerful artificial intelligent chip that can compute 320 trillion operations per second in order to enable the self-driving functionality. So why did Tesla make the switch from Nvidia DRIVE and why is this a big deal?
Tesla has decided to switch chips so they can stay ahead of the competition. Now they can focus on their own specific needs instead of relying on a chip that is intended for a wide variety of cars. In addition, Tesla has made many improvements including efficiency upgrades and faster computer vision software.
AI analyst James Wang points out the similarity between Apple and Tesla, “The real reason why Tesla built their own chip is the same reason why Apple built the 64-bit A7 SoC—because they need more performance than off the shelf solutions and building in-house lets them *leapfrog* the competition. Apple’s custom SoC effort is a key reason why the iPhone leads in performance and go-to-market. Tesla’s AI chip effort will do the same—they will be able to deliver performance & features *ahead* of other auto makers that must wait for the next chip from Nvidia/Intel”. By building their own chips Tesla will have more control of its future.