Tesla is reportedly working with Samsung’s foundry division to make cutting-edge 5nm self-driving car processors. The electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer began designing its autonomous operation chips in 2016 after relying on Nvidia components.
Electrek previously stated the EV corporation teamed up with Broadcom and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to make 7nm vehicle system-on-a-chips (SOCs).
Details on Tesla and Samsung’s New Collaboration
Tesla and Samsung have collaborated on making purpose-built processors for some time. The carmaker tasked the conglomerate with making the 14nm components that power its HW 3.0 vehicle computers. In 2019, the EV manufacturer claimed its new SoCs could process frames 21 percent more efficiently than prior generation parts.
However, Tesla’s forthcoming 5nm chipset will offer much greater performance improvements.
According to South Korean publication Asia-E, Samsung will utilize its extreme-ultraviolet lithography (EUV) manufacturing process to make the EV company’s new SoCs. The new fabrication node will enable greater computation capacity, reduce energy consumption, and lower per chip production costs. The 5nm architecture also lets Tesla’s engineers include a central processing unit (CPU) and a graphics processing unit (GPU) on the same die.
At minimum, Tesla’s new hardware will make its already best-in-class semiautonomous vehicles operate more efficiently. The firm’s new SoCs could provide the missing ingredient it needs to launch a fully autonomous driving system. CEO Elon Musk said his car business was “very close” to developing a Level V solution last summer.
Why Tesla is Making its Own SoCs
In the past, large conglomerates bought their specialized electronic components from leading chipmakers. But that tradition changed in the 2010s when Big Tech giants like Amazon, Apple, and Google began designing their own SoCs and outsourcing their manufacture to various pure-play foundries. Those corporations altered their methodologies to align their hardware and software development and their operational reduce costs.
Though Tesla is an automaker, it functions like a tech company and has adopted many of the sector’s practices, including in-house chip design.
The EV vendor became the world’s most valuable car manufacturer because of the quality of its digital systems. Its infotainment platform advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) vastly outpaces its rivals’ offerings. By integrating its SoC and algorithm development, Tesla will retain that advantage and further improve its market position.
The Fremont, California-based company’s focus on long-term development also explains its decision to partner with two different foundries.
Electrek noted TSMC would begin mass production on Tesla’s new automotive processors in Q4 2021. Presumably, the EV firm will deploy those SoCs in the 2022 cars, SUVs, and Cybertrucks. It could impress consumers with its revamped fleet because of the generational improvements between 7nm and 14nm nodes.
Tesla could then launch its 2023 fleet with Samsung made chipsets. That strategy would allow the manufacturer to keep maintain its competitive edge while pursuing its multi-year roadmap. It would also help it keep its production pipeline going amid the global automotive electronic component shortage.
Based on its recent moves, Tesla will maintain its position as the world’s foremost carmaker for the foreseeable future.