CNBC reported on Wednesday, citing a source familiar with the matter, that Tesla was working with AMD to develop its own artificial intelligence chip for self-driving cars. An insider source talking to CNBC says that Tesla has already received samples for the first in-car processor from AMD/GlobalFoundries and "is now running tests on it". Sources indicate that Tesla is developing its chip on top of a foundation of AMD intellectual property, and that testing with an early implementation is already underway.
The CEO of chip fabricator GlobalFoundries, Sanjay Jha, presented at company's technology conference in Santa Clara, California yesterday. Company chief Elon Musk once said that Tesla aims to have fully autonomous cars by 2019 - we'll just have to wait and see if it can stick to that timeline. Intel bought Mobileye in March for $15.3 billion in order to further its own autonomous-car project. AMD shares were up 2%, near 14 in after-hours trading in the stock market today, after rising 4% during regular-hours trading. The desire to build its own chip is said to be aligned with Tesla's wish to be more vertically integrated and less reliant on other companies.
Tesla, AMD, and GlobalFoundries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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Tesla's Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles use Nvidia Corp's products for their self-driving capabilities.
Jim Keller, the legendary engineer in AMD's ranks is reportedly involved in the deal, along with 50 engineers at Tesla. Tesla has brought on several AMD veterans after hiring Keller, including director Ganesh Venkataramanan, principal hardware engineer Bill McGee and system circuit design lead Dan Bailey. The chips provided by Nvidia were the backbone of Tesla's Autopilot feature.