Tesla and legendary chip designer, Jim Keller, began assembling a team of chip architects to develop its own silicon in 2016. The team was up to the difficult task of designing a more powerful and more efficient chip for self-driving. Three years later, Tesla unveiled the team’s chip as part of its Hardware 3.0 (HW 3.0) self-driving computer.
Along with the introduction of the new chip, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla has already begun working on the next generation of the chip. Musk went on to say that it would be around 2 years before production but once it arrives, they expect it to be three times better than the new chip.
Now a new report from Korea suggests that Tesla is partnering with Samsung on a 5-nanometer chip for self-driving (via Asia-E and translated from Korean): “According to related industries on the 25th, the Samsung Electronics Foundry Division is currently conducting research and development (R&D) on 5nm-class system semiconductors to be mounted on Tesla autonomous vehicles. The 5nm semiconductor applied with the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) process is a high-tech product that only a small number of companies such as Samsung Electronics and TSMC can produce worldwide.”
Samsung and Tesla are currently production partners for Tesla’s current self-driving chip in its hardware 3.0 computer which is based on a 14-nm technology. The new 5-nm chips just recently started being utilized in commercial products like Apple’s iPhone 12, in the past year.
If Tesla stays on schedule for mass production of the new chips in Q4 2021, the first production vehicles that will utilize them most likely won’t be seen until 2022 or later.