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Autonomous Vehicles

Published on September 23rd, 2017 | by James Ayre


Tesla Reportedly Working With AMD On Self-Driving AI Chip

September 23rd, 2017 by  

Tesla is reportedly now working with the chip manufacturer AMD on the development of its own self-driving tech management AI chip, according to an unnamed source quoted by CNBC in a recent article.

According to that source, Tesla has now “received back samples of the first implementation of its processor and is now running tests on it” — bringing the company closer to its goal of being entirely vertically integrated and not dependent upon outside firms for key components.

This processor is, as noted above, based on top of AMD intellectual property, so complete independence is clearly not going to be the case within the immediate future, but perhaps not too long into the future either.

CNBC provides more: “On Wednesday Sanjay Jha, CEO of AMD spin-off and chip fabricator GlobalFoundries, said at the company’s technology conference in Santa Clara, California, mentioned Tesla as an example of companies that were working with fabricators. GlobalFoundries, which fabricates chips, has a wafer supply agreement in place with AMD through 2020.

“In a statement, GlobalFoundries said Jha’s remarks were misreported, and denied that the company was working directly with Tesla. AMD and Tesla declined to comment.”

As well as a nice overview of the state of things at Tesla: “Tesla’s silicon project is bounding ahead under the leadership of longtime chip architect Jim Keller, the head of Autopilot hardware and software since the departure of Apple veteran Chris Lattner in June. Keller, 57, joined Tesla in early 2016 following two stints at AMD and one at Apple. Keller arrived at Apple in 2008 through its acquisition of Palo Alto Semiconductor and was the designer of Apple’s A4 and A5 iPhone chips, among other things.

“More than 50 people are working on the initiative under Keller, the source said. Tesla has brought on several AMD veterans after hiring Keller, including director Ganesh Venkataramanan, principal hardware engineer Bill McGee, and system circuit design lead Dan Bailey.”

As it stands, Tesla’s offerings utilize Nvidia graphics processing units as part of a tech and sensor suite that will according to the company allow for fully autonomous travel once the software solution has been developed. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is currently claiming that the software should be ready before the end of 2019.



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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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