There have been rumors that Tesla is developing its own chip optimized for self-driving applications ever since we reported on the automaker quietly hiring legendary chip architect Jim Keller from AMD last year.
Now CEO Elon Musk finally confirmed the rumor – specifying that Tesla is working on its own new AI chip and that the effort is led by Keller.
After our exclusive report that Tesla hired legendary chip architect Jim Keller from AMD as new “Vice-President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering” earlier this year, we were expecting some new hires to complete Tesla’s growing Autopilot team – especially since CEO Elon Musk said the project was “super high priority” and even encouraged people to apply via Twitter.
Sure enough, Keller’s former colleague at PA Semi and Apple, Peter Bannon, followed him at Tesla just a few weeks later. And now in a significant sourcing move, Electrek has learned that Tesla poached a team of high-profile chip architects and executives from AMD to develop the next generation Autopilot under Keller’s leadership.
Tesla is expected to release more features through over-the-air updates utilizing its current hardware Autopilot suite, but the system, which consists of a forward-looking camera, a radar, and 360 degree sonar sensors, is limited and not expected to achieve fully autonomous driving. Hence why Tesla is currently developing its second generation Autopilot hardware suite, which is should enable fully self-driving cars.
The chip guru who built Apple’s Ax microprocessors joins Tesla to lead the Autopilot Hardware Engineering team
Electrek has learned that Tesla this month quietly hired high-profile microprocessor engineer Jim Keller as Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering. Tesla today confirmed the news and sent us the following statement:
Jim Keller is joining Tesla as Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering. Jim will bring together the best internal and external hardware technologies to develop the safest, most advanced autopilot systems in the world.
Keller left chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) late last year after leading the team developing the upcoming Zen processor architecture for the past three years. Before that he had a very high-profile role at Apple…