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Keller is building self-driving vehicles for Tesla

by on05 June 2017

Will take some time

Fudzilla has already mentioned Jim Keller, the hardware engineer that was one of the key people for finishing what was considered to be the overambitious AMD Zen CPU project. Keller now works for Tesla, and our well-informed friends confirmed that he is building a self-driving platform for the company. 

Keller was hired to lead hardware engineering at Tesla. In other words, Keller is building self-driving Tesla platforms from scratch. We asked around if such a massive project would even be possible, but our sources are very confident that Keller can pull it off.

Keller and his team managed to launch Zen, a CPU architecture that had 52 percent higher instructions per clock compared to the previous generation. In the semiconductor world, this is more than a miracle, as people didn’t think that a promised 40 percent IPC was possible, let alone the 52 percent which was delivered. Even if you forget about this metric, the fact that AMD has a competing solution to the current Intel offering is some sort of mirracle no one thought possible, just a few months ago. 

Tesla wont be driving Keller's self driving platform anytime soon. Don’t be naïve, these things don’t happen overnight, and it will be years until it's ready, and until then Elon has Mobile Eye for legacy cars and Nvidia Tegra PX2 for current Tesla S, X and III cards, Nvidia will get into the future cars too, as long as Elon is not finished with its own self-driving platform.

Elon Musk has confirmed that Mobile Eye is out of Tesla following the fatal crash. Not long after Mobile Eye was acquired by none other than Intel for a whooping $15 billion. We don’t think that the price is right, but Intel made a great move by acquiring something that it desperately needed for its own self-driving future. Intel has BMW  as a customer, and that is a big catch.

This does mean that Nvidia will be out of Tesla at some point, as Tesla finishes up its own platform. This is not necessarily bad news for Nvidia, as Tesla will need a lot of time for in-house, self driving completion. Nvidia Drive PX 2 will get into many Tesla cars and probably even the Tegra, based on the new Volta architecture too.

Nvidia, Intel and Qualcomm - the three potentially big players in automotive - will have a dozen other car manufactures as potential customers. Developing a self-driving platform needs the expertise and money that most car manufacturers won’t spend. 

Last modified on 05 June 2017
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