Tesla has reportedly placed a massive order of chips for its next-gen Full Self-Driving (FSD) computer with Taiwan’s TSMC. The order is so large that it might make Tesla one of TSMC’s biggest customers.
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 to achieve self-driving in consumer vehicles without additional hardware like in custom-built autonomous vehicles operated by Waymo and Cruise.
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 improvements 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.
While it has been more than two years and the chip hasn’t come, there have been increasing rumors about Tesla working on bringing the chip to production.
For the first generation of its self-driving chip, Tesla had been working with Samsung to produce the device.
In 2020, it was rumored that Tesla was working with TSMC on the next generation.
TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited, is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies.
Now Tesla is reportedly moving forward with TSMC and has started placing large orders for its next-gen self-driving chip, according to reports coming out of China and Taiwan (translated from Chinese):
TSMC is receiving orders for vehicles, and it is reported that it has replaced Samsung and won a large order for Tesla’s new generation of fully automatic driver assistance (FSD) chips, which will be produced at 4/5 nanometers. Tesla is expected to become one of TSMC’s top seven customers next year. It is the first time that TSMC’s main customer has a pure electric car factory, which will help resist the impact of consumer electronics boom adjustments.
According to the report, TSMC plans to supply Tesla’s production from a factory in Arizona.
Not much is known about Tesla’s next FSD computer, but the automaker said that it is not required to achieve Full Self-Driving – though it would improve performance.