Tesla announces new chip for self-driving cars, upcoming Robotaxi service

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated Apr 23 2019
Tesla announces new chip for self-driving cars, upcoming Robotaxi service
HIGHLIGHTS

Tesla announces new self-driving chip for its new and existing cars

Tesla also announces a new networked car-sharing taxi service for 2020 called Robotaxi

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Tesla announced at its Autonomy Day event yesterday that it has been shipping its cars with a new chip built in called the Full Self-Driving Computer for a while now. Calling it “the best chip in the world”, Tesla claimed it would now be the primary hardware on all Tesla cars, new and existing, to power all on-board self-driving sensors and software. Tesla also announced its plan to introduce a self-driving taxi fleet, or “Robotaxi” fleet, sometime next year.

Tesla claims that its new Full Self-Driving Computer offers 21 times better performance than the NVIDIA chips it used on its cars before. The chip contains two neural network arrays that are capable of 36 trillion operations per second (TOPS) each. The chip draws 72 watts of power, which is more than the 57 watts the previous NVIDIA chips consumed. Tesla says every car will come with two of these chips for redundancy.

As reported by The Verge, Tesla’s first attempts to build a self-driving chip for its cars began in 2017. Two years later and on schedule, the company announced the Samsung-manufactured chip with six billion transistors. According to Tesla, it has been adding the Full Self-Driving Computer chip in the production units of the Tesla Model S and Model X for over a month now. The Model 3 too has been shipping with it for ten days now.

The Robotaxi fleet, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk explains, will be a networked car-sharing self-driving taxi fleet. What that means is that regular Tesla owners will be able to add and subtract their cars from the Robotaxi fleet using the Tesla app. Those looking to hail a taxi, on the other hand, can use the same app to summon a self-driven Tesla car. The service is expected to go live in some districts of the US sometime next year.

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