Tesla Inc. TSLA, -0.32% is working with Advance Micro Devices Inc. AMD, +4.73% to produce a chip for its Autopilot, the car maker's suite of advanced driver-assistance systems, aiming to reduce Tesla's reliance on Nvidia Corp. NVDA, -0.81% according to a CBNC report that cited a source familiar with the matter. The report cited the same source saying more than 50 people are working under Jim Keller, the head of Autopilot, and Tesla has brought on several former AMD employees to work on the project, CNBC said. Tesla has developed its own ADAS software and related systems and relies on an onboard Nvidia AI "supercomputer." AMD shares rose 1.5% late Wednesday, while Tesla shares and Nvidia shares fell 0.1% and 0.6%.
Looks like Jim Keller still has some pull.
It is a head scratcher because the vaunted Vega Cube never materialized, and AI features won't make their way in until Navi.
If you read the CNBC story carefully, you'll see that Tesla has Jim Keller - ex AMD lead chip designer. He left AMD in 2016. They also have poached a number of chip designers from AMD. It's virtually certain that Tesla and Jim Keller have an internal team and have gone directly to Global Foundries, bypassing AMD completely. There's no reason to involve AMD when the lead chip designer has poached a team and has them at his beck and call. This is not like Microsoft custom effort where Microsoft didn't have a team and needed AMD. This situation is where they have acquired the cream of the crop designers and are doing the design themselves. The only real possibility is that they've signed a deal to use some of AMD GPU tech in their chips, because that would allow them to use existing compilers which target AMD GPU tech. But that's the only reasonable thing.
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Nvidia shares took a sharp drop into the red a shot while ago following a piece by Bloomberg's Ian King saying Tesla's decided to use Intel's technology, from its Mobileye acquisition, to power the large "infotainment" screens in the Tesla sedans, citing multiple unnamed sources.
Nvidia has for years supplied GPU chips to power the 17-inch digital dashboard in the Tesla cars, even before it struck a deal to replace Mobileye for the "autonomous driving" functions of future Teslas.
Nvidia shares are up 96 cents, or 0.6%, at $171.96, after dropping to $170.35. Intel stock is up 31 cents, or 0.8%, at $37.47.
Just imagine if AMD still owned the Xilleon technology it sold off...Snapdragon came from it, which would have been perfect for automobile infotainment systems...