Earlier this year Tesla showed their intent to beef up their chip expertise with the hiring of former AMD and Apple CPU designer Jim Keller. That move indicated that Tesla might be considering building their own chips for their cars which previously seemed far-fetched since they had stuck with NVIDIA and Mobileye for so long.
Then, following a high-profile accident which resulted in a death of a customer Tesla dropped Mobileye as a chip supplier which seemed sudden but may have made more sense since they were acquiring chip experts like Jim Keller.
Now, Tesla appears to be expanding their hiring to GPU engineers with the hiring of Anand Mandapati who was most recently employed by Apple according to his LinkedIn. Prior to that, he was employed by AMD for quite some time and helped them with their Nintendo console design wins. This puts him in similar company to Jim Keller who is also an alum of both AMD and Apple. It will be interesting to see how Tesla utilizes his expertise in GPUs, much like Jim's in CPUs.
Right now, it's anyone's guess what Tesla might be doing with these chip engineers, but one thing is clear, they are definitely building something. The easy guess is that they are trying to build their own SoC to do what the Mobileye chip was previously doing and to possibly design their own chips to replace NVIDIA Tegra as well. That would make Tesla a chip company, something I don't think anyone really expected to happen. But then again, if you talk to Tesla they consider themselves a technology company first and a car company second so it isn't much of a stretch, really.
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