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Tesla partners with Samsung on new 5nm chip for full self-driving, report says

Tesla has reportedly partnered with Samsung on a new 5nm chip for full self-driving, according to a new report coming from Korea.

Tesla moves to design its own chips

Back in 2016, Tesla started building a team of chip architects led by legendary chip designer Jim Keller to develop its own silicon.

The goal was to design a super powerful and efficient chip for self-driving.

In 2019, Tesla finally unveiled the chip as part of its Hardware 3.0 (HW 3.0) self-driving computer.

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, while only barely increasing the power consumption.

When launching the new chip, CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla is already working on the next generation of the chip, and they expect it to be three times better than the new chip and roughly two years from production.

Tesla’s next-generation self-driving chip

A few months ago, there was a report that Tesla planned for its next-generation self-driving chip to use a 7-nanometer process by TSMC, a Taiwan semiconductor company.

Now a new report from Korea states 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 is already Tesla’s partner for the production of its current self-driving chips in its hardware 3.0 computer.

However, that chip is based on a 14-nm technology.

5-nm chips are a more recent technology that only started to make it into commercial products last year. They are found in some of the latest smartphones, like Apple’s iPhone 12.

The latest report on Tesla’s new chips stated that mass production was planned for Q4 2021 – meaning that we aren’t likely to see those chips inside Tesla production vehicles until 2022.

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