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Tesla unveils its new Full Self-Driving computer in detail: ‘objectively the best chip in the world’

At the ‘Tesla Autonomy Day’ today, Tesla unveiled all the details about its new Full Self-Driving computer, which CEO Elon Musk claims is ‘objectively the best chip in the world’.

The automaker has been talking about this new computer for years now.

Earlier this month, Tesla announced that the new Full Self-Driving (FSD) computer, previously known as Autopilot Hardware 3.0, is now in production.

Today, the company clarified that it was in all new Model S and Model X since March (start around March 20th) and in all new Model 3 vehicles earlier this month (starting around April 12th).

Musk said that Tesla will start offering retrofits to current Tesla owners who bought the ‘Full Self-Driving package’ in the next few months.

During a talk at the ‘Tesla Autonomy Day’ today, Musk and Pete Bannon, Tesla’s head of Autopilot hardware, explained the entire new computer in details and why they decided to produce their own in the first place.

Musk said that they found that there’s no chip built from the ground up for neural net and they decided to design one and build software designed specifically to work with the hardware.

After the CEO introduced Bannon as the best chip architects he knows, the engineer went into an interesting deep dive about the hardware that they developed.

Here’s the new Tesla FSD computer:

I wouldn’t do the deep dive justice so I recommend watching the video below if you like the “inside baseball” information about how they achieved everything, but here are the actual results that Tesla is claiming to have achieved.

They claim a factor of 21 improvement in frame per second processing versus the previous generation Tesla Autopilot hardware, which was powered by Nvidia hardware.

Bannon, who worked on important chip programs at Apple, said that he never worked on a project where the factor of improvement was more than 3.

The engineer also explained how they managed to solve the power issue. While the power consumption of the device has increased, it didn’t come anywhere close to the scale of the capability increase:

Bannon also said that hardware cost about 20% less per car than the Autopilot hardware 2.5. He said that the difference is paying for the development of the new hardware.

Musk added that Samsung is producing the new Tesla-designed chip in Austin, Texas and he doesn’t expect any problem with supply.

The CEO also added that they are already working on the next-generation of the chip and they expect it to be 3 times better than the current chip that just went into production.

He expects that it is about 2 years away, but Bannon’s presentation (embedded below) focused on the current generation FSD computer:

You can visit our Tesla Autonomy Event news hub to get all our current and upcoming coverage of the presentations today.

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