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Tesla is now claiming to have created the “most advanced computer” made for self-driving cars.
As Electrek reports, Tesla is doubling-down on improving its self-driving car system. That has resulted in a new hardware suite that will vastly improve Tesla’s Autopilot software.
Here’s what you need to know.
Basically, the new technology is a proprietary artificial intelligence chip designed and developed by Tesla.
Rumors of the first-party silicon first spread in 2016, when Tesla poached chip architect Jim Keller from AMD — which was followed by several other chip-making experts.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that it was building a first-party chip late last year.
In its latest earnings call, chip team leader Pete Bannon touted the efficiency and sophistication of that chip.
The chip will come in a system suite for Tesla’s Autopilot mode dubbed “hardware 3.”
Essentially, Tesla says it will significantly boost the autonomous driving capabilities of its existing Autopilot system.
It could make self-driving systems much more accurate and safer. In other words, it could take Autopilot one step closer to being fully autonomous — capable of driving on its own with no human input or safety driver.
Musk has said that the new “hardware 3” suite will be able to handle 2,000 frames per second — up from about 200 on Autopilot 2.0.
The hardware suite relies on a custom-built chip created by Tesla. Musk said that its proprietary silicon acts as a “neural network accelerator” to boost its own A.I. and computer vision systems.
The new system, being a piece of hardware, cannot be delivered via software or firmware update.
However, that doesn’t mean interested parties need to buy a whole new Tesla to get access to the upgraded platform.
Both Bannon and Musk maintained that the new hardware suite will be offered as a free upgrade.
Basically, Tesla will swap out the computer in existing vehicles for the new system. So yes, it will be a free upgrade for Tesla owners.
While we don’t have an exact release date, the chip is coming out sooner than later.
In Tesla’s latest earnings call, Bannon said that the hardware suite will be released sometime next year.