Per the electric carmaker, the new chipset offers a performance that is 21 times better than its old hardware built by Nvidia. The chipset also boasts a neural network performance of 144 tera operations per second (TOPS). Nvidia’s Drive Xavier chip, on the other hand, has a neural network performance of 21 TOPS.
The new chip houses 6 billion transistors with the capacity to process up to 2,300 frames per second. Tesla says that compared to its previous generation hardware made by Nvidia, this is an improvement of nearly two dozen times.
For redundancy purposes, the FSDC boards will come with two chips. This will ensure that the car stays in motion even when one chip fails. The new chip’s power consumption improved by around 1.25 times while costs fell by 80 percent vis-à-vis the old hardware.
Never short on hyperbole, Tesla CEO Elon Musk immediately dubbed the FSDC as “best chip in the world.”
Nvidia Rains on Tesla’s Parade
Nvidia, however, flatly refuted Tesla’s claim in a statement, specifically taking issue with the neural network performance, according to MarketWatch:
“Tesla was inaccurate in comparing its Full Self Driving computer at 144 TOPS of processing with Nvidia Drive Xavier at 21 TOPS. The correct comparison would have been against Nvidia’s full self-driving computer, Nvidia Drive AGX Pegasus, which delivers 320 TOPS for AI perception, localization and path planning.”
Musk countered this saying that the Nvidia Drive AGX Pegasus has a “low true, usable TOPS.”
@elonmusk exposes @nvidia: Nvidia's flagship platform for developing robotaxi applications (Pegasus) deceptively uses GPU horsepower to claim 320 TOPS. Most of this is unusable for realtime self-driving computation. Max NN compute is 21*2=42TOPS vs 144TOPS on #Tesla FSD computer. https://t.co/oVULG7p09G
— iguana (@tslatips) April 23, 2019
Samsung-Built FSDC Will Be Shipped in all New Cars
Tesla has said that all its new cars will come equipped with the FSDC. In the Model X and the Model S, Tesla started shipping the computer in March. The Model 3s that were manufactured in April also have the FSDC. Tesla’s new chipset will be built by Samsung in Texas.
All Tesla cars being built today have the hardware necessary for full self-driving:
8 vision cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, radar, and this custom-designed beast of a Full Self-Driving Computer pic.twitter.com/jYMAhB5Ooc
— Tesla (@Tesla) April 23, 2019
Even as critics dismiss Tesla’s autonomous vehicle plans as pure fantasy, Musk has plowed ahead with the company’s driverless car ambitions. During the same event Musk stated that he expects Tesla to unveil robotaxis numbering more than one million next year:
“We will have more than one million robotaxis on the road. A year from now, we’ll have over a million cars with full self-driving, software… everything.”
Best Side Hustle of the Future? Your Tesla!
According to Musk, the fully self-driving robotaxis could generate for their owners approximately $30,000 in profits annually.
Given its track record, Tesla naysayers are bound to have a field day. For one, regulators are unlikely to rush in giving their approval. This is in light of the various Tesla AutoPilot-related accidents, some of which are still under investigation in the United States.
And then there is the issue of deadlines. It is not to be forgotten that Musk had promised that Tesla vehicles would be fully autonomous by 2018. And the electric carmaker has also failed to meet deadlines on less ambitious projects. This includes missing the Model X’s launch date by two years.