Just a few hours ago, Tesla held an 'Autonomy Day' event in California, where CEO Elon Musk detailed the plans for achieving autonomy, the case where your self-driving car will be able to drive you around.
The billionaire pitched a 'master plan' for moving towards autonomy. But more importantly, he revealed a new computer chip that will be driving these efforts with enhanced performance/power.
21 times better performance
The new Full Self-Driving (FSD) processor, designed by Tesla and manufactured by Samsung, has been dubbed by Musk as the 'best chip in the world'.
It's a 260 square millimeter piece of Silicon, which comes with 6 billion transistors and twin neural network arrays, and promises a whopping 21 times better performance than the previous NVIDIA chip used by the company.
CPU, GPU components for handling more data
The main CPU and GPU components of the new Self Driving computer chip have been purpose-built to handle all the data Tesla cars would collect on the road with better speed and efficiency, The Vergereports.
Specifically, the FSD chip can handle as much as 2,300 frames per second and consume just a bit more power than the previous chip.
Chip will also have twin neural network arrays
The new chip also features twin neural network arrays, with each one handling 36 trillion operations per second at 2GHz. So, that means it will be able to handle as many as 72 trillion operations per second.
And, none of this would affect vehicle range
It's worth noting that the new FSD chip consumes 72 watts of power, which is just 15 watts higher than what the last chip consumed.
Now, this increase means that the range of vehicles won't be affected in any way.
If anything, this chip will only prove cost-effective; it will come at 80% cost of what Tesla used to pay for the last chip.
Tesla will also offer enhanced safety features
Tesla says it will bundle two of the new chips on every new car it makes so that the other chip takes over in case the first one fails.
Musk says the probability of failure is very low, but the company has built redundancies for power and calculations in the chip so that the car works as expected and pre-verifies every move.
Some Tesla units already have the new chip
Tesla has already started shipping the new chip with Model S and Model 3, and soon, other vehicles will also be switched to the new processor, which, when combined with appropriate software update, will enable full autonomy (at least, theoretically).