Tesla dumps Nvidia, will use its own self-driving chips

Katie Ramirez
April 23, 2019

The billionaire tech mogul showed off a Tesla ride-sharing app at the company's Autonomy Day with investors at its Palo Alto, California headquarters on Monday.

Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tesla robotaxis with no human drivers would be available in some markets next year thanks to exponential improvements in technology.

Electric vehicle pioneer Tesla revealed a full hand on self-driving technology at its "Autonomy Investor Day" which it held Tuesday morning (Australian time) from its headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

"Tesla was inaccurate in comparing its Full Self Driving computer at 144 TOPS of processing with Nvidia Drive Xavier at 21 TOPS", a spokesman said in an email.

Musk has touted the electric vehicle maker's self-driving capabilities over the years, highlighting its semi-autonomous Autopilot system.

October 19 - Musk says he expects that by the end of 2017 a Tesla would be able to drive in full autonomous mode from Los Angeles to NY "without the need for a single touch" on the wheel.

In brief, Tesla has started to transition away from Nvidia processors and instead will be using an in-house chip design, dubbed the FSD chip, in its Autopilot v3.0 hardware.

Tesla shares closed down 3.8 percent, while Nvidia finished up 1.2 percent.

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Tesla, particularly CEO Elon Musk, isn't exactly popular for its estimates and predictions.

While Nvidia might say that this doesn't compare to its billions of simulated hours, Musk says that simulated testing can not replicate real-world dilemmas.

April 22 - Musk says it is "financially insane to buy something other than a Tesla" today because Tesla is the only company to have a full self-driving suite of hardware.

"Tesla is starting to flirt with other battery makers in China, and Panasonic doesn't like that", said Sam Jaffe, managing director of battery consulting firm Cairn ERA. "I think we'll make the right moves".

And once fully autonomous vehicles are introduced, there won't be any need for steering wheels or pedals, Musk believes.

But some have voice scepticism, saying that the technology to drive cars safely simply does not exist yet. And experts say there's no federal law requiring preapproval for fully autonomous driving, as long as a vehicle meets federal safety standards, which Teslas already do.

At a presentation for investors about the company's autonomous technology Mr Musk unveiled a new section of the company's app which he said Tesla owners would be able to use to make money by adding their auto to a fleet of taxis, which would operate without drivers.

Uber and Lyft also consider driverless cars to be one of the keys to making money from their still unprofitable services, but haven't set a specific timetable for achieving that breakthrough while they continue to work on their own autonomous technology. And all the cars in Waymo's ride-hailing service still have a human behind the steering wheel ready to take control.

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