The Palo Alto, California-based electric car maker company, Tesla Inc., is reportedly working with Advanced Micro Devices, a semiconductor company, to develop its own artificial intelligence chip for self-driving cars, according to a report, as it takes steps to decrease its reliance on NVIDIA, which has supplied the electric automaker with the graphics processing units powering Tesla’s Autopilot and future self-driving system, and other companies.
According to a report, the automaker company has also hired Jim Keller, who previously worked with AMD and Apple, to lead its chip division. The report also stated that Tesla is using AMD’s intellectual property to develop its own custom chip and is currently running tests on it.
More than 50 people are working on the project under Jim Keller, a longtime chip architect and the head of Autopilot hardware and software of Tesla, based on the report released.
Tesla previously used chips made by Mobileye, a driver-assistance tool that allows Tesla vehicles to drive themselves in traffic and park on their own, but it was acquired by Intel earlier this year for $15.3 billion in order to further its own autonomous-car project. However, Mobileye opted not to renew the contract with Tesla after a fatal accident of Tesla Model S Autopilot in Florida.
“It’s definitely been a tough slog transitioning from the Mobileye vision chip to Tesla’s internal vision system, but I think we’re almost there in terms of exceeding the ability of the hardware one car,” Musk said during a meeting with shareholders in early June.
Its current Autopilot system uses NVIDIA chips, but Tesla clearly wants more. By building its own specialized processor, it can create a technology that can do precisely what it wants to achieve, including true autonomous driving.
The custom chip would presumably handle artificial intelligence-related tasks like the ability for cars to see objects and drive themselves. The company said it aims to deliver fully-autonomous driving capabilities in 2019.
Tesla shares were mostly flat on Wednesday. Meanwhile, AMD shares rose 6.4% to $14.62 in extended trading, on top of a 4.7% gain in regular trading, while NVIDIA was down in after-hours trading.
Several technology giant companies like Apple and Google have recently developed custom computer chips tailored for various AI-related tasks.