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Tesla secures multibillion-dollar deal with Samsung for new cameras for self-driving

Tesla has reportedly secured a multibillion-dollar deal with Samsung to get new cameras for its self-driving sensor suite.

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) program relies on cameras to get imagery to feed its neural nets.

Unlike most other self-driving programs, the automaker doesn’t use radar and lidar. However, we recently reported on Tesla’s filing with the FCC to use a new radar.

But for now, Tesla relies on cameras, specifically a suite of eight cameras in the current version of its Autopilot sensors.

Now The Korea Economic Daily reports that Samsung has a won a contract estimated to be worth between 4 trillion won and 5 trillion won ($3.2 billion-$4 billion) to supply Tesla with new cameras:

Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co., the electronic components unit of Samsung Group, has won a multi-billion-dollar deal to supply camera modules to Tesla Inc. for most of the US company’s electric vehicles.

The publication reported on the specific cameras to be supplied to Tesla:

The components to be supplied this time will be Samsung’s version 4.0 camera modules with 5 million pixels, which show five times clearer images than the company’s previous 3.0 modules.

This would be a major upgrade over the cameras used in Tesla’s current Autopilot sensor suite, which are believed to only have a resolution of about 1.2 megapixels.

Sources told the economic publications that the cameras will be used in all Tesla vehicles for the next few years.

Over the next few years, Samsung will be supplying its latest camera modules to be installed on Tesla’s Model 3 sedan, Model S sedan, Model X SUV and Model Y crossover as well as electric trucks such as the Cybertruck and the Tesla Semi, the sources said.

Interestingly, Samsung reportedly won another contract to supply cameras for Tesla specifically for the Cybertruck last year.

The Korean electronics giant is expected to start mass production of the new cameras as soon as next month.

Last year, Tesla started a retrofit program for cameras on older vehicles with “Full Self-Driving.”

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