Elon Musk, and Tesla have recently announced that they plan to release their new neural network computer chip within 6 months.
~6 months before it is in all new production cars. No change to sensors. This is simple replacement of the Autopilot computer. Will be done free of charge for those who ordered full self-driving.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 16, 2018
The news follows the years of speculation that Tesla planned to build their own chip for the next generation of autonomous vehicle: Autopilots.
According to other titbits of information on Twitter, this new chip could yield a whopping 500-2000% increase in Autopilot operations per second.
Somewhere between 500% & 2000%— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 16, 2018
The idea is to provide a computer powered vision neural network that will enable Tesla car Autopilots to operate in any condition.
AMD engineers are helping Tesla to build it
Several years ago these suspicions were strengthened with the news that chip architects and executives from AMD had joined forces with Tesla which included the legendary architect Jim Keller and Pete Bannon, but Keller has since left the project.
Earlier this summer Bannon confirmed that this new chip will be released in a new so-called 'hardware 3' suite for existing Tesla Autopilot packages. The idea is to retrofit them in vehicles with existing 2.0 and 2.5 versions for those who order the Full Self-Driving Capability Package.
According to Elon Musk the new 'hardware 3', will be capable of handling 2,000 fps with redundancy. This was achieved, so he explained, by building the new chip from the ground up.
This means it will act as a 'neural network accelerator' based on Tesla's existing neural net they have been building for their in-house developed AI - this was deployed with the recent v9 of their software.
Musk also confirmed that it features an about “400% increase in useful ops/sec due to enabling integrated GPU and better use of discrete GPU.” These GPU's have been provided by Nvidia on Autopilot 2.0+ hardware suites.
Tesla will upgrade for free (if you bought the package)
Tesla has announced that all customers who order the Full Self-Driving Package will receive the upgrade for free. All new production cars will, of course, have them installed as standard once ready.
These packages, which have been available since 2016, cost between $3000 and $5000 over the years depending on how you ordered it. Customers also needed to have the 'Enhanced Autopilot' package too.
You could also purchase it for $6000 for an over-the-air update.
The new chip is well underway with ambitions to have it ready by sometime in early 2019. Despite this Elon has himself admitted they still have "a long way to go".