Tesla, the U.S. electric car leader, is mulling the development of its own custom artificial intelligence (AI) chips to power its self-driving technology, an online report said Saturday.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk admitted at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), which took place last Thursday, that "Tesla is serious about AI, both on the software and hardware fronts. We are developing custom AI hardware chips," said the report.
"Jim is developing specialized AI hardware that we think will be the best in the world," Musk said, referring to Jim Keller, vice president of the Sillicon Valley-based electric automobile company in California on the western U.S. coast.
Keller is also a well-known chip engineer who was lead architect on a range of silicon at AMD, an American multinational semiconductor manufacturer, and Apple before joining Tesla in 2016.
"About half of new cars built 10 years from now will be autonomous," Musk told the participants at the NIPS party, saying he believed that artificial general intelligence (AGI) will arrive in about seven or eight years.
Before its partnership with AMD, Tesla had cooperated with Mobileye, an autonomous car technology developer, to create its first chips for Tesla Autopilot. However, a fatal car crash in Florida, the southernmost state in the U.S. southeastern region, which involved a Tesla owner who drove in Mobileye's semi-autonomous mode, ended Tesla's project with Mobileye.
Later, Tesla decided to develop its own AI chips by recruiting talents from other companies such as AMD to build on their expertise in hardware engineering and system circuit design.
It's not clear when Tesla will apply the custom AI technology to its vehicles.