Tesla Is Developing Its Own Custom AI Chips To Drive Level 5 Autonomous EVs
Not that any of this should be surprising. Tesla has been going in this direction for some time now. At the beginning of the year, Tesla managed to poach the former boss of Apple's Swift programming language, Chris Lattner. He joined Tesla as Vice President of Autopilot Software, taking over for Jinnah Hosein, who served in the role on a interim basis before going back to his full-time duties at SpaceX.
"Working with many phenomenal teams at Apple to launch Swift has been a unique life experience," Lattner said in a posting to Swift-Evolution at the time. "Apple is a truly amazing place to be able to assemble the skills, imagination, and discipline to pull something like this off. Swift is in great shape today, and Swift 4 will be a really strong release with Ted as the Project Lead."
Unfortunately Musk did not go into many details about its custom hardware. For example, in addition to not knowing if its is working with AMD on chip design, we also do not know if Tesla plans to replace NVIDIA's hardware in its autonomous vehicles, or continue using it alongside its own. We suspect the former, though there is certainly room for multiple slices of silicon in Tesla's increasingly sophisticated vehicles.
Tesla's ultimate goal is to achieve Level 5 autonomy, based on SAE International's standard. Level 5 represents full autonomation, with a driverless car being able to navigate any road in any driving condition that a human driver could.