Elon Musk promises to release a new Tesla neural network chip in six months.
In response to a Twitter follower’s question regarding the car manufacturer’s new chip timeline, Elon Musk tweeted that the new Tesla neural network chip will be released in six months.
~6 months before it is in all new production cars. No change to sensors. This is simple replacement of the Autopilot computer. Will be done free of charge for those who ordered full self-driving.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 16, 2018
Musk’s announcement comes after years of speculation that Tesla was developing its own custom chip. The rumors were further fueled by the hiring of legendary chip architect Jim Keller to lead a team of specialists from AMD.
Back in August of this year, Tesla’s new lead chip architect Pete Bannon confirmed the speculations about the custom chip and said that it was already being tested on the road using their test vehicles.
According to Bannon, the new Tesla neural network chip will be released in a hardware 3 suite for Autopilot, taking the form of a new computer that will replace the existing Autopilot hardware 2.0 and 2.5, which have been in production since 2016.
The latest custom chip will reportedly yield around a 500 to 2000 percent increase in Autopilot operations per second. The apparent goal for this new neural network is to enable any Tesla car to navigate autonomously in any condition. An ambitious feat that Musk has openly spoken about these past years.
The latest custom chip will be introduced to new Tesla cars in production. This means that the company has to produce hundreds of thousands of neural network computer chips for the modification of existing Tesla vehicles that are available for upgrade.
Tesla clients who reportedly ordered the Full Self-Driving Capability Package will automatically receive the upgrade. The package, which has been made available since 2016, costs around $3,000 to $5,000 USD.
Furthermore, clients who ordered the package also need to have the Enhanced Autopilot Package which costs $5,000 USD when purchased together with the vehicle.
With Tesla’s continuous effort to further develop its Autopilot technology, Musk noted that they still have a long way to go.